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Death and Rebirth: Startling New Information Emerges About Ancient Egyptian Pot Burials

Thursday, January 5, 2017 21:22
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Weighing of the heart scene from the Book of the Dead of Hunefer.

Ancient Egyptian funerary practices were not just about making mummies. Surprising new information reveals that pot burials were not just for poor children in ancient Egypt either. Instead, it seems that citizens of any age and socio-economic class could have been laid to rest in this way, even wealthy adults. Rather than economic necessity, ancient Egyptian beliefs about death and rebirth may have been the reason behind this burial style.

A Practice Not Limited to Poor Children

Many different nations in the ancient world– including Egypt –buried some of their dead in ceramic pots or urns. Archaeologists and historians considered that these pot burials were mostly used for poor civilians, especially children. However, bioarchaeologist Ronika Power and Egyptologist Yann Tristant of Macquarie University in Sydney, beg to differ.

They reviewed the published accounts of pot burials (dating from about 3300 BC to 1650 BC) at 46 sites, most of them near the Nile River. These bodies were either interred directly into the urns, or sometimes pots were carefully broken or cut to fit the dead. Unpredictably, they discovered that more than half of the sites contained adult remains, and it was noted that pot burials for children were not as common as most people would think. – Reconstructing the story of humanity’s past


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