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Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh May Be the 1st Known ‘Giant’

The supposed remains of Sa-Nakht, a pharaoh of ancient Egypt, may be the oldest known human giant, a new study finds.

Myths abound with stories of giants, from the frost and fire giants of Norse legends to the Titans who warred with the gods in ancient Greek mythology. However, giants are more than just myth; accelerated and excessive growth, a condition known as gigantism, can occur when the body generates too much growth hormone. This usually occurs because of a tumor on the pituitary gland of the brain.

As part of ongoing research into mummies, scientists investigated a skeleton found in 1901 in a tomb near Beit Khallaf in Egypt. Previous research estimated that the bones dated from the Third Dynasty of Egypt, about 2700 B.C. 

The possible skull of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Sanakht of the Third Dynasty. Credit: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland

Prior work suggested that the skeleton of the man — who would have stood at up to 6 feet 1.6 inches (1.987 meters) tall — may have belonged to Sa-Nakht, a pharaoh during the Third Dynasty. Previous research on ancient Egyptian mummies suggested the average height for men around this time was about 5 feet 6 inches (1.7 m), said study co-author Michael Habicht, an Egyptologist at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Evolutionary Medicine.

Ancient Egyptian kings were likely better fed and in better health than commoners of the era, so they could be expected grow taller than average. Still, the over-6-foot-tall remains the scientists analyzed would have towered over Ramesses II, the tallest recorded ancient Egyptian pharaoh, who lived more than 1,000 years after Sa-Nakht and was only about 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall, Habicht said.

In the new study, Habicht and his colleagues reanalyzed the alleged skull and bones of Sa-Nakht. The skeleton’s long bones showed evidence of “exuberant growth,” which are “clear signs of gigantism,” Habicht said.

These findings suggest that this ancient Egyptian probably had gigantism, making him the oldest known case of this disorder in the world, the researchers said. No other ancient Egyptian royals were known to be giants.

“Studying the evolutionary development of diseases is of importance for today’s medicine,” Habicht said.

In the early dynasties of Egypt, short statures were apparently preferred, with “many small people in royal service,” Habicht said. “The reasons for this preference are not always certain.”

Still, because the alleged remains of Sa-Nakht were buried in an elite tomb, there may have been no social stigma attached with gigantism at the time, the researchers said.

The scientists detailed their findings in the August issue of the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Originally published on Live Science.

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Archaeologists find traces of the mysterious civilization prior to Pharaonic Egypt

Recently, archaeologists have excavated six burials from civilization prior to Pharaonic Egypt. The discoveries made have allowed us to better understand the enigmatic Neolithic culture of the people who lived in the Nile plain before the ancient Egyptians and who laid the foundations for their civilization.

civilization prior to Pharaonic Egypt

An expedition has been studying burial sites of the Final Neolithic (4,600-4,000 BC) along the ancient shores of an extinct seasonal lake near a place called Gebel Ramlah, providing new data to solve how and who these settlers were.

The dynastic period of Egypt begins around 3100 BC Before that, between 9300 and 4000 BC, the Nile plain was inhabited by Neolithic peoples. These villages have not been well studied, at least in relation to their successors, mainly because archeological sites are often poorly accessible. The remains of their settlements are located mainly under the old Nile flood plain or in peripheral deserts.

Members of the Combined Prehistoric Expedition, with permission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt (SCA), have been studying the Neolithic sites of the western desert of Egypt. Although not lush, the Neolithic was wetter than today, which allowed the former shepherds to populate what is now the middle of nowhere.

During the last part of the Neolithic period, the ancient settlers began to bury the dead in cemeteries and the skeletons provide critical information about their lifestyle.

civilization prior to Pharaonic Egypt
objects found in caves
Objects found in graves.

Between 2001 and 2003, the members of the expedition excavated three cemeteries of this era with 68 skeletons. The tombs were full of objects with ornamental ceramics, sea shells, stone jewelry, and ostrich eggshell. They also discovered ornamental jewelry and stone weapons for men.

These people were tall, enjoyed a long life and showed low rates of infant mortality. The men measured about 170 cm, while the women, about 160 cm. The majority of men and women lived for more than 40 years, some up to 50 years, an advanced age for those days.

Social stratification

More recent expeditions, which took place between 2009 and 2016, found two cemeteries very different from the rest. They analyzed another 130 skeletons discovering that they were accompanied by few artifacts and that they suffered from increased infant mortality, as well as a shorter life and stature.

Why were there so many differences between the two burials? They could have been separated populations, but it is unlikely based on general physical similarities. Therefore, they might differ by status, with one cemetery for the elite and one for the workers. This is the first proof of such a phenomenon in Egypt.

civilization prior to Pharaonic Egypt
Comparison between the remains in the cemetery of the supposed elite (left) and those found in a more recent excavation.
Comparison between the remains in the cemetery of the supposed elite (left) and those found in a more recent excavation.

The sites also shed light on the family structures of the time. The total proportion of genders in all cemeteries is three women for each man, which may point to polygamy. The children were buried in adult cemeteries from three years old. There is also clear evidence of respect for the dead.

These behavioral indicators, together with the technological and ceremonial architecture, such as calendar circles and sanctuaries, imply a level of sophistication that goes well beyond that shown by the groups of pastors.

Source: The Conversation

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Archaeologists Discover Traces of a Mysterious Society Behind Rise of Ancient Egypt

Very little is known about Neolithic Egypt, the precursor to the subsequent civilisation of Pyramids and Pharaohs we all know today. The often-inaccessible sites conceal their mysteries, lying beneath the Nile’s former flood plain or in outlying deserts.

An international group of scientists has reported the discovery of burial sites that date back to an ancient culture that existed in the Libyan desert and enabled the rise of ancient Egypt, publishing some of their findings in the African Archaeological Review.

While many of us tend to associate pre-Hellenic Egypt exclusively with the pharaohs and pyramids of the Dynastic period, there was a Neolithic civilisation that predated it.

Members of the Combined Prehistoric Expedition, with permission from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), studied burial sites focusing on the Final Neolithic (4,600-4,000 BC), which was built on the success of the Late Neolithic (5,500-4,650 BC) and lying along the former shores of an extinct seasonal lake near a place called Gebel Ramlah.

In “Gebel Ramlah—a Unique Newborns’ Cemetery of the Neolithic Sahara”, the researchers offer important insights into the mysterious ways of life of the ancient peoples.

At that time, the climate in the desert was more humid than today, which allowed ancient farmers to populate the area. This culture was characterised by the cultivation of livestock and the creation of megalithic structures, shrines and even calendar circles resembling Stonehenge.

During the final part of the Neolithic period, people started burying their dead in formal cemeteries. The skeletons provide telltale information about their health, relationships, diet and even psychological experiences.

In 2001-2003 the archaeologists excavated three cemeteries from this era, uncovering and studying 68 skeletons and the artefacts left in the graves: elaborate cosmetic tools for women, stone weapons for men, as well as ornamental pottery, sea shells, stone and ostrich eggshell jewellery.

Researchers found that these people had a low level infant mortality, high growth, and a relatively long life expectancy (40-50 years).

In 2009-2016, two more cemeteries were discovered with 130 skeletons and a small number of artifacts. According to the results of the analysis, these people were short, there was a high degree of infant mortality and they had a short life expectancy.

Pondering the reasons for the tremendous differences in the burial sites, researchers came up with a number of theories. It’s possible that some sites were intended for people of high social status, while others were for the working class. This could be the earliest evidence of class stratification in Egypt, claim the experts.

These indicators, taken together with the innovative technological and ceremonial architecture, such as the calendar circles and shrines, imply that these people showed a level of sophistication beyond that of common cattle and sheep/goat herders.
The fascinating finds can be viewed as a precursor of things to come in Ancient Egypt.

Sputniknews

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Prehistoric aliens in Malta? Elongated skulls found in an underground temple will be analyzed

Mysterious elongated skulls found in Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, the only known prehistoric underground temple, will be studied by an interdisciplinary team from Malta and Australia.

aliens in Malta

Dolichocephalic skulls were discovered in 1926 by the Maltese archaeologist Themistocles Zammit and have long been the subject of various conspiracy theories. Among them, which are the remains of alien beings who visited Malta in the past. Others, more conservative, estimate that, as with other cultures of the remote past, the inhabitants of the area were able to practice cranial deformation.

Now, a team composed of scientists from the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Malta and Macquarie University of Sydney (Australia), plans to end the enigma by doing a thorough study of the bones.

The project has received a € 6,000 grant from the Union Académique Internationale , as part of the centenary celebration of this institution.

Some of the skulls with anomalies found in the prehistoric Hypogean temple of Hal Saflieni, Malta. aliens in Malta
Some of the skulls with anomalies found in the prehistoric Hypogean temple of Hal Saflieni, Malta.

Called “The Sentinels of Hal Saflieni, Malta: Scientific Facts versus Science Fiction”, the project will finally give the deserved academic attention to the elongated skulls found in the underground temple, determining their characteristics and true origin thanks to modern technology.

The Hal Saflieni Hypogeum was excavated around 2500 BC It is considered that its first function was that of the sanctuary and that subsequently, but even in prehistoric times, it became a necropolis. It is located at the end of the municipality of Paola, in the southeast of the island of Malta. It was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1980.

Old note on the mystery of elongated skulls in Malta. aliens in Malta
Old note on the mystery of elongated skulls in Malta.

“Unquestionably, it is a place of global importance that helps to understand the evolution of the intellect, creativity, technology, and culture of the human groups that settled in the region,” he concludes in a statement issued on the date by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Malta.

Source: Malta Today

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