The skeleton of a child between the age of 6 and 9 found with various grave goods.

3,500-Year-Old Child Burials Unearthed at Ancient Egyptian Work Site

(Read the article on one page)

A team of archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed four ancient child graves at Gebel el-Silsila, the site of a former Egyptian quarry that dates back 3,500 years. The finding provides new insights on what life may have been like at this ancient work site.

Four Intact Burials of Children Unearthed

Several fascinating discoveries have taken place near Aswan during the past few weeks, as Ahram Online reports . A Swedish-Egyptian archaeological team excavating at the Gebel El-Silsila area unearthed four untouched burials of children. According to Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the four child burials date to the Eighteenth Dynasty .

“They consist of a rock-hewn grave for a child between two and three years old. The mummy still retains its linen wrapping and is surrounded with organic material from the remains of the wooden coffin,” Waziri told Ahram Online. And added, “The second burial belongs to another child aged between six and nine years old, who was buried inside a wooden coffin, while the third burial is of a child between five and eight. Both of these graves contain funerary furniture, including amulets and a set of pottery.” Interestingly, the fourth burial also belongs to a young child between the age of five and eight.

Newly-discovered child burial. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities

Newly-discovered child burial. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities

New Burial Discoveries Shed New Light on Burial Customs

Maria Nilsson, director of the Swedish mission believes that the newly discovered child graves could reveal a lot of previously unknown information, “The new burial discoveries are shedding more light on the burial customs used in the Thutmosid period as well as the social, economic and religious life of people during that period,” she tells Ahram Online . In addition, Nilsson noted that the archaeological mission has been very successful during its previous excavation works, as it managed to unearth several burials, even though she acknowledges that the newly discovered burials are of particular cultural and archaeological value. “More excavations and studies on the site will reveal more about the death rituals conducted in this site during the period,” she tells Ahram Online .

Statue of Greek Goddess Artemis Discovered in Aswan

In the intervening period of time, an Egyptian-Swiss mission working in the ancient town of Aswan, led by Egyptologist Wolfgang Muller, also unearthed a statue of significant historical value - a headless female figure that was also missing her feet and right hand. “The statue is carved from limestone and measures 14cm by 9cm in width and the thickness of its bust is 3cm and the lower part is 7cm,” Abdel Moneim Saeed, general director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, told Ahram Online .

An initial investigation on the statue has showed that the dress the woman wears is almost identical to that of Artemis, one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities, goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth, virginity and protector of young girls.

The newly-discovered statue of Artemis. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities

The newly-discovered statue of Artemis. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities

Part of Cemetery Dating back to First Intermediate Period Also Discovered 

Finally, an Egyptian-Austrian team of researchers working at a hill in Kom Ombo town, also uncovered part of a cemetery dating back to Egypt's First Intermediate Period , almost four millennia ago.  Some of the newly discovered mud-brick tombs contained pottery and other funeral items, as the mission’s leader Dr. Irene Foster noted. “The preliminary study revealed that it is mostly built on top of an earlier cemetery. Below the cemetery the mission has uncovered remains of an Old Kingdom town with a ceiling impression of King Sahure from the 5th Dynasty (2494 to 2345 BC),” Dr. Foster told Ahram Online , explaining that the cemetery had been built on top of an older one, as well as an Old Kingdom town.

Ceiling impression of King Sahure. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities

Ceiling impression of King Sahure. Credit: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities

Top image: The skeleton of a child between the age of 6 and 9 found with various grave goods. (Image: The Gebel el-Silsila Project 2017)

By Theodoros Karasavvas

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Roman glass (not the legendary flexible glass). Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart.
Imagine a glass you can bend and then watch it return to its original form. A glass that you drop but it doesn’t break. Stories say that an ancient Roman glassmaker had the technology to create a flexible glass, ‘vitrium flexile’, but a certain emperor decided the invention should not be.

Human Origins

Photo of Zecharia Sitchin (left)(CC0)Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC depicting the deities Inanna, Utu, and Enki, three members of the Anunnaki.(right)
In a previous 2-part article (1), the authors wrote about the faulty associations of the Sumerian deities known as the Anunnaki as they are portrayed in the books, television series, and other media, which promotes Ancient Astronaut Theory (hereafter “A.A.T.”).

Ancient Technology

Roman glass (not the legendary flexible glass). Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart.
Imagine a glass you can bend and then watch it return to its original form. A glass that you drop but it doesn’t break. Stories say that an ancient Roman glassmaker had the technology to create a flexible glass, ‘vitrium flexile’, but a certain emperor decided the invention should not be.

Ancient Places

Opinion

Hopewell mounds from the Mound City Group in Ohio. Representative image
During the Early Woodland Period (1000—200 BC), the Adena people constructed extensive burial mounds and earthworks throughout the Ohio Valley in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Many of the skeletal remains found in these mounds by early antiquarians and 20th-Century archaeologists were of powerfully-built individuals reaching between 6.5 and eight feet in height (198 cm – 244 cm).

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article