Archeologists discover pregnant woman with fetus in Ancient Egyptian burial site

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The skeleton of the woman and her unborn child found in Kom Ombo near Aswan. (Egyptian Ministry of Culture)
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Pottery found in the grave in Kom Ombo near Aswan. (Egyptian Ministry of Culture)
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Pottery found in the grave in Kom Ombo near Aswan. (Egyptian Ministry of Culture)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Archeologists discover pregnant woman with fetus in Ancient Egyptian burial site

  • The woman was found in a grave-pit, inside a small cemetery, with the skeletal remains of the unborn baby still in her stomach
  • The grave in Kom Ombo, in Aswan province, is more than 3,500 years old

CAIRO: An Italian-American mission has discovered an ancient tomb containing a pregnant woman and her fetus during an archaeological dig in southern Egyp

The woman was found in a grave-pit, inside a small cemetery, with the skeletal remains of the unborn baby head facing down still in her stomach, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities said.

The grave in Kom Ombo, in Aswan province, is more than 3,500 years old, Dr. Mostafa Waziri, the General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said on Wednesday. 

The study found the woman was around 25 years old when she died, and her death could have been due to a problem with her pregnancy.

That the baby was positioned head-down, meant the team believed the mother and child could have died during childbirth.

“There’s something very poignant and quite sweet about it, but also very sad,” Nigel Hetherington, an Egypt-based archaeologist and heritage consultant said about the find.
The find was made by the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project (AKAP), led by Yale University and University of Bologna. The project has investigated selected areas in the Aswan-Kom Ombo region since 2005.

Preliminary analysis of the mother’s corpse also revealed that the woman’s pelvis was misaligned, which could have been a fracture that hadn’t healed properly.

Waziri said the injury could have been the cause of the labor problems.

The skeleton in the grave pit was found wrapped in a leather burial shroud.

There were also two pottery vessels in the grave – one a small jar, the other a fine bowl that appeared to have once been polished in red on the outside, and black on the inside, a Nubian style; this kind of vessel was popular in nomadic communities. 

The vessels were presumed to be offerings carried into the woman’s afterlife. This was why ancient Egyptians tended to pray to female deities like Hathor, Taweret, and Bes.

The archaeological mission also found numerous unfinished ostrich eggshell beads and black fragments, which Dr. Waziri also speculated was an offering.

Scholars think that beads were being offered to the woman because she could have been a bead maker for a living.

“The beads were common, but they were for the burial for the poor, since they weren’t gold beads, it makes sense,” Ahmed Salah, an Egyptology graduate from the American University of Cairo, told Arab News.

Kom Ombo is about 48 kilometers north of Aswan, east of the Nile River.

Recently, three tombs of cats were also found at a pyramid complex in Saqqara, Egypt, as well as four other sarcophagi at Khufu-Imhat’s site.

Egypt Ministry of Antiquities has been revealing many ancient Egyptian discoveries recently.

Egypt is trying to boost tourism, which is on the rise after significantly dropping since the 2011 Arab Spring.
 


Women’s key role in the Sudan protests that toppled Omar Al-Bashir

Updated 23 min 48 sec ago
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Women’s key role in the Sudan protests that toppled Omar Al-Bashir

  • Sudan's public morality laws targeted women
  • Women were beaten and harassed at protests

DUBAI: It began with protests over the price of bread. But it was an image of Alaa Salah, a young woman dressed in white, standing on  a car with her hand pointing up to the sky, that captured the world’s attention as the protests led to the toppling of Omar Al-Bashir.

For some women, the revolution was not just about btead — it was about regaining a feeling of safety inside their homes and fighting a regime that oppressed women.

Ihsan Abdulaziz, speaking from her Khartoum home, remembered the knock at her door. It was members of the security forces. They had come to arrest her.

“They didn’t even give me time to pack. I put on my abaya and veil and left with them,” she told Arab News, recalling the moment she was snatched away from her family.

Abdulaziz, a leader of the new Sudanese women’s movement, was arrested on Jan. 5, 2019. She was held for 58 days without charge or explanation.

She described the conditions of Omdurman women’s prison.

“The rooms were overcrowded. One of the cells, meant for solitary confinement, had 5 people inside it.”

Abdulaziz said they tried to fit two other women into the room, one of whom was believed to be over 75.

The female guards singled out detainees, treating them disrespectfully and delaying the delivery of medicine.

“Our prison was still better than others,” Abdulaziz added.

Abdulaziz, who had been detained on three previous occasions, learned that security forces beat up her son so severely that both his hands were in casts. “Even our kids, those of activists, are targeted.”

The associate director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division, Jehanne Henry, said that thousands had been arrested and that women were among those being kept in custody without being charged

But the participation of Sudanese women in demonstrations is not new.

“Sudanese women have always been willing and strong to protest,” Henry told Arab News.

Salah’s white garment and golden earrings are inspired by the outfits that Sudanese women wore during revolutions in the 1960s and 1980s.

Women were active in other revolutions too, such as those in 2011 and 2013.

But there are more women taking to Sudan’s streets now.

“These protests have a much wider base, the Sudanese Professionals Association has mobilized so many professions,” Henry explained.

Women from all classes, interests, occupations and ages took to the streets this time.

“It is no longer limited to politically active women, all the women were out in the street,” Abdulaziz said.

Some would even estimate that almost 60 percent of the protesters were women, she added.

A Sudanese architecture graduate, who is living in the UAE, said most of her female friends and relatives participated in the demonstrations and sit-ins.

“Even my older aunts and grandmother took part in the protests, even those who were not politically engaged,” Ebaa Elghali told Arab News.

Women were the most disadvantaged group under Bashir’s regime which is why they were actively protesting against it, Elghali added.

Human Rights Watch said that public morality laws, implemented by Bashir, targeted women and curtailed their basic freedoms.

In 2009 Sudanese women started a movement as a protest against these laws.

“They are (the laws) dedicated to control the clothes of Sudanese women, many faced unjust treatment because of it,” Sudanese activist Tahani Abbas told Arab News.

“Sometimes they say the clothes are indecent, but they never specify how. You could be fully covered and they still won't like it,” Abdulaziz explained.

Although the regime claimed to follow Sharia, several Sudanese women said the government was as far removed from Islam as it could be.

Women faced various violations during the protests, such as “beatings and harassment by national security during arrests,” Henry said.

Some women were starting to report incidents of sexual harassment and assault, she added.