World's earliesT known infant cemetery found in Egypt


Ancient herders of Egypt buried their infants in a separate cemetery 5000+ years ago. 

Professor Irish and colleagues excavating at Gebel Ramlah

Of six Final Neolithic cemeteries investigated to date at Gebel Ramlah, in the Western Desert of Egypt, one is entirely unprecedented, not only in North Africa but globally at such an early date. For just under 200 years (ca. 4500-4300 cal BCE) it served exclusively for the inhumation of infants who died around (perinate) or shortly after the time of birth (neonate). Older children (>3 years) were interred at a nearby cemetery that primarily comprised adults. Thirty-two burial pits in the infant cemetery contained skeletal remains of 36 individuals between 36 weeks prenatal to several months of age postnatal. However, three females were also interred there; buried with perinates/neonates, it is likely that they died giving birth.

Plan of the infant cemetery at Gebel Ramlah

Read the full article in the African Archaeological Review.

DigiArt Project is funded by the European Commision under grant number 665066

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