New clues about ancient Egyptian pot burials

New research on ancient Egyptian pot burials provides evidence that this type of burial was meant not only for the poor. The practice was not limited to children or to impoverished families.

Ancient Egyptian pot burials (by Béatrix Midant-Reynes)

Archaeologists reviewed published accounts of pot burials at 46 sites, most near the Nile River and dating from about 3300 BC to 1650 BC. It was revealed that a little over half of the sites contained the remains of adults. For children, pot burials were less common than expected. The published numbers speak for themselves with 746 children, infants and foetuses interred in some type of burial container, 338 were buried in wooden coffins despite wood’s relative scarcity and cost and another 329 were buried within pots. One case is known where an infant was found in a pot containing beads covered in gold foil. The new research proposes that people deliberately used these containers, as hollow vessels may have been used to represent rebirth into afterlife, symbolising an empty womb.

(after Science News & Béatrix Midant-Reynes)

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