Amara West project blog

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Investigating life in an Egyptian town

Amara West 2013: the latest from Cemetery C

Philip Kevin lifting a particularly well preserved coffin fragmentMichaela Binder, Durham University

Time is flying and the end of the season approaches fast.

Philip Kevin lifting a particularly well preserved coffin fragment in G244

Philip Kevin lifting a particularly well preserved coffin fragment in G244

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.

Mohamed crouching in the narrow western burial chamber of G244

Mohamed crouching in the narrow
western burial chamber of G244

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.

Partly exposed child burial Sk243-14 in the centre of the eastern chamber of G243

Partly exposed child burial Sk243-14 in the centre of the eastern chamber of G243

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.

Miniature flask with the stopper originally sealing the vessel still intact

Miniature flask with the stopper originally
sealing the vessel still intact

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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Find out more about the Amara West research project
Read posts from previous excavation seasons at Amara West

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