(ORDO NEWS) — Paleopathologists examined 22 skulls, presumably originating from the tomb of the second prophet Amon, who lived in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC.
On the skull of an adult male 40-59 years old, they found fractures and displacements of bones caused by two blows with a fist or a blunt object.
Scientists have put forward a hypothesis that this person could take part in sports / ritual fights. This is reported in an article published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.
Interpersonal violence has accompanied mankind since ancient times. One of the brightest confirmations of this was recently discovered on the remains of the famous Spanish cave Sima de los Huesos.
At least 17 of the 20 Heidelberg/Neanderthal (Homo heidelbergensis/H. neanderthalensis) human skulls from this site, dating back about 430,000 years ago, showed signs of severe damage.
An adult male Cro-Magnon (H. sapiens), who lived about 35,140–33,340 years ago, was also a victim of violence, and whose remains were found at the Paleolithic site of Sungir.
In addition, there is a growing body of research on violence within different ancient populations. So, scientists have found that its growth in the Bronze Age forced the women of Anatolia to take up arms.
In recent years, scientists have also often resorted to paleoradiological methods to examine the mummified remains of people from different eras.
It also often leads to the discovery of evidence of violence. One of the most striking examples is the ice mummy Ötzi, whose remains were found 31 years ago in the Alps (more on this in our material “From the abyss in the ice”).
Another recent example is the study of South American mummies held in European museums. It turned out that two of the three individuals studied were victims of murder.
Jesus Herrerin from the University of Alcala, together with colleagues from Australia and Spain, was invited for a paleopathological study of mummies found in one of the tombs of the El Assasif necropolis.
In the same burial structure there were remains that, judging by the inscriptions, came from another necropolis – El-Khoch, namely: from the tomb of a man named Puimre – the second prophet of Amun during the reign of Hatshepsut (about 1490-1468 BC) and Thutmose III (circa 1479-1425 BC). These remains included 22 skulls, four of which were partially or fully mummified.
As a result of the study, scientists found that 12 skulls belonged to men, ten more – to women. However, they stopped their attention on one find – a well-preserved isolated large skull 39-S1 with typical male features.
He was missing his lower jaw and all his teeth, most of which fell out during his lifetime. Anthropologists estimate that the man was about 40–59 years old at the time of his death.
Macroscopic examination of this find showed that the man received two blows to the front of the skull, one of which fell on the zygomatic arch, and the other on the bones of the nose.
So, a blow to the cheek led to a fracture of the left zygomatic arch and upper jaw, their displacement, as well as to the deformation of the left eye socket.
Another blow caused a fracture of the right nasal bone, damage to the edge of the upper jaw and some minor injuries.
Scientists diagnosed several more injuries after studying radiographs. For example, they noticed a fracture of the bottom of the left eye socket.
Scientists are inclined to believe that these injuries are the result of two separate episodes. In their opinion, the injuries were the result of side impacts with a fist or a blunt object.
Although it is impossible to establish the exact cause of these strikes, the researchers put forward the most plausible, in their opinion, version.
They believe that this damage is similar to what a fighter receives in close combat. In Thebes, different ethnic groups lived, including the Nubians.
Among the latter, freestyle fighting and stick fighting, which can be seen as ritual/sporting activities, were popular.
It is possible that the injuries on the examined skull were the result of such a fight, although this is only one of the hypotheses.
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