Michaela Binder, Durham University
Time is flying and the end of the season approaches fast.
While British Museum conservator Philip Kevin and I are busy in the first chamber of G244, entangled among remnants of painted coffins, Mohamed has joined Barbara in G243 to open the second burial chamber on the western side.
Compared to Barbara’s eastern chamber, this one turned out to be tiny, with just enough space for one person to work.
In contrast to the busy eastern chamber, only four burials were placed here. A young female was buried within a funerary container of palm tree wood, now in very bad condition. This individual was associated with jewellery: a bracelet of small blue faience beads placed around her left arm.
The remains of the other three bodies, among them a child, were disarticulated, piled against the back wall.
At the same time, the number of bodies Barbara has found in the eastern chamber continues to rise: 13 individuals at the latest count.
Skeleton 243-14, placed in the centre of the chamber, is of a child who died between seven and nine years of age – according to the developmental stage of the teeth.
Children of that age are generally not that common in ancient cemeteries. At Amara West however, we find a significant number of older children – could this reflect the presence of certain infectious diseases?
Associated with the burial was a small, red-burnished miniature flask. This finding ties in with earlier suspicions that children may have been buried accompanied with miniature versions of vessels associated with adult burials.
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