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A Tough Commute: Long Hike to Work in the Valley of the Kings Caused Laborers to Suffer from Arthritis

Friday, November 25, 2016 20:57
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A Tough Commute: Long Hike to Work in the Valley of the Kings Caused Laborers to Suffer from Arthritis

In the ancient world, work was so hard that bone pathologies show up in skeletal remains even to this day. In ancient Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, workers labored hard to build the mortuary temples and complexes to pharaohs and other high officials, but they also worked hard just hiking to the job site that their legs show osteoarthritis, a new study says.

Anne Austin, an osteologist and Egyptologist at California’s Stanford University in Palo Alto, has separated the jumbled-up bones of the workers in robbed tombs beside the village of Deir el-Medina in Egypt.

Deir el-Medina, once known as Set Maat (“The Place of Truth”) is located on the west bank of the Nile, across the river from modern-day Luxor. It was a grueling hour's climb for the workers, across the mountainside that looms above Egypt's Valley of the Kings. The village may have been built apart from the wider population in order to preserve secrecy in view of the sensitive nature of the work carried out in the tombs.

The ancient village of Deir el-Medina

The ancient village of Deir el-Medina (Public Domain

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