They find remains of the oldest gynecological treatment of which there is evidence

They find remains of the oldest gynecological treatment of which there is evidence

Scientists from the universities of Granada and Jaén study the physical evidence found in the mummy of a woman who suffered a severe trauma to the pelvis in 1878-1797 BC, relating them to the medical treatment described in various Egyptian medical papyri of the time.

Researchers from the Qubbet El-Hawa Project, which runs the University of Jaén (UJA) in Aswan (Egypt) and in which scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) participate, have found remains of thegynecological treatment oldest known, made at awoman who lived in Ancient Egypt 4,000 years ago, and passed away in 1878-1797 BC.

During the 2017 excavation campaign inQubbet el HawaOn the southern border of Pharaonic Egypt, Andalusian researchers found in tomb QH34 a vertical shaft dug into the rock that ended in a burial chamber with ten intact burials.

At least at this site in Upper Egypt, mummification techniques were not very effective at that time. Although the characters buried there generally belonged to the higher classes of society and would receive special care, the mummies are actuallyskeletons very well preserved wrapped in thick layers of linen bandages, which sometimes retain traces of soft tissues dried.

“The mummies had grave goods (usually necklaces of different types), they were covered or not with cardboard face masks and were kept inside two superimposed rectangular sarcophagi, usually very altered by the action of termites and withhieroglyphic inscriptions”, Explains the forensic anthropologistMiguel Bottle, Emeritus Professor of the UGR who has carried out the analyzes.

The last buried mummy

One of them, which was excavated by the expedition's team of anthropologists, was perhaps the last mummy buried in that chamber. It belonged to a woman of high social class, whose name,Sattjeni, has been preserved in the remains of the outer coffin. That name must have been frequent among the upper class of the region, that is why this woman has been called Sattjeni A.

Between the originally bandaged legs of Sattjeni A (in the lower part of the pelvis, under the bandages), the researchers found a ceramic bowl with traces of use, inside which wereorganic remains burned. The analysis of the skeletal remains was carried out by a team of anthropologists from the University of Granada coordinated by Miguel Botella, and confirmed that the woman had survived a serious fracture in her pelvis, perhaps caused by a fall, which had to cause serious injuries. pains.

It is very likely that, to alleviate these pains, the woman was treated withfumigations, as themedical papyri contemporaries describe to solve gynecological problems.

"The most interesting thing about the discovery of the researchers from the University of Jaén is not only the documentation of apalliative gynecological treatment, something that in itself is unique in Egyptian archeology, but this type of treatments with fumigations were described in contemporary medical papyri and, until now, there was no evidence that they were carried out ", says the doctor in Egyptology of the UJA Alejandro Jiménez, director of the Qubbet el-Hawa Project. This work has been published in the Egyptian journal Zeitschriftfürägyptische Spracheund Altertumskunde.

Source: University of Granada
Rights:Creative Commons.

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