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Saturday, November 22, 2014
News, Luxor: New Study shows Ancient Egyptian laborers worked through the pain despite health care
(the workers village)
CAIRO: A recent
study on skeletal remains of workmen at ancient Egypt’s burial site of Deir
el-Medina, has concluded that a state-subsidized health care plan was in place
for workers who built the royal tombs.
comprehensive healthcare system, “several workers felt pressure to work through
illness, perhaps to fulfill tacit obligations to the state to which they owed
so much,” Anne Austin, a researcher specialized in osteo-archaeology at the
Stanford Humanities Center’s History Department was quoted as saying by
Stanford news website.
conducted a detailed study on skeletal remains of individuals of different
genders, statuses, and occupations found at Luxor’s burial site of Deir
el-Medina, in order to explore health care systems in ancient Egypt, according
to Stanford news.
In her study,
Austin also used the results of earlier researches on Deir el-Medina’s
well-known textual artifacts of medical documents, bills, personal letters and
administrative texts, which have been examined earlier by several
“These two data
sets shed light on the applications and efficacy of health care in ancient
Egypt through an understanding of both the physiological illnesses and social
care at Deir el-Medina,” said Austin, adding that the workers were subject to
“significant occupational stress fueled by pressure from the state to
accomplish their work.”
Mummy - YOUM7
Austin, Deir el-Medina’s workmen had uniquely comprehensive health care, but
sometimes could not take advantage of it.
In one of the
examined mummies, she said she observed evidence of inflammation in the bone
due to blood-borne infection.
“The man clearly
had been working while this infection was ravaging his body. He would have been
working during the development of this infection,” Austin told the Stanford
site. “Rather than take time off, for whatever reason, he kept going.”
workmen’s village of Deir el-Medina is nestled in a small valley north of the
Valley of the Queens on Luxor’s west bank. The village was founded during the
reign of Thutmose I (1510 B.C. – 1482 B.C.) and flourished until the end of the
New Kingdom Period (1580B.C.-1080B.C.), archaeologist Sherif el Sabban told The
Cairo Post Wednesday.
which in Arabic means ‘monastery of the city’, is one of ancient Egypt’s most
well-preserved settlements and was a highly skilled community of craftsmen who
cut and prepared the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and in the Valley of the
Queens, and were administered directly by the vizier,” said Sabban.
Being in an
industrial zone famous for funerary furniture and items for the surrounding
communities, The Deir el-Medina workers were better paid than the majority of
their contemporaries throughout Egypt, added Sabban.