The poignant discovery of a 6,500-year-old child mother and her infant
A team of Polish archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Neolithic burial ground containing the remains of dozens of children and infants in the region Gebel Ramlah, located in the southern part of the Egyptian Western Desert. But most poignant of all was the discovery of a grave containing a young teenage mother and her tiny infant.
Archaeologists led by Professor J Kabacińskiego of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznan have been working on the unique necropolis of Gebel Ramlah for more than a decade. This incredible site, which dates back around 6,500 years, has already yielded many findings of the past. These include ancient Neolithic cemeteries dating to the period of the Megalith builders of Nabta Playa, who constructed an ancient astronomical observatory that accurately marks the summer solstice and which played a significant role in the spiritual and religious life of the Neolithic pastoralists of the South Western Desert.
But Kabacińskiego’s latest finding is the first time that a cemetery intended almost exclusively for children, infants, and foetuses has been found in the Western Desert. The graves were mostly shallow and small cavities containing children, however, in several cases, a grave was found containing an adult buried alongside the remains of a newborn infant, probably reflecting the death of the mother during childbirth.
In one of the more moving discoveries made by the team, they found the skeletal remains of a young adult next to a tiny infant. Following an analysis on the remains, the archaeologists were able to determine that the infant’s mother was only 14 years old at the time of her death.
The researchers took numerous samples of genetic material from which it is hoped after the analysis, it will be possible to determine whether and what familial links united the individuals.