Ancient Egypt is an amazing culture. Monuments of the time, such as the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, arouse people’s reverence today. The interest of researchers is also caused by ancient Egyptian papyri. After all, Egypt – one of the earliest cultures, whose representatives conducted detailed records of all that is happening. But even today, scientists do not know everything about the secrets of ancient Egypt, and researchers continue to make stunning discoveries.
1. Meteorite iron
In the Egyptian city of Girza in 1911, archaeologists found a tomb in which nine metal beads were stored. Incredibly, it turned out that the beads appeared 2,000 years earlier than in Egypt they began to smelt iron. Since then, historians have been puzzling over where the ancient Egyptians took iron for beads. Egyptian hieroglyph, which denoted iron, literally translated as “metal of the sky”, which gives a very good reference to the understanding of its origin.
Because of the rarity of the metal, it was mostly associated with wealth and power. Of it, mostly made jewelry and knick-knacks for the royal family, and not weapons, as was customary later. In the 1980s, chemical analysis showed that the level of nickel in beads was similar to that found in meteorites. So the Egyptians, thousands of years before they learned how to smelt this metal, there was iron. This can also explain the secret of the cortex of Tutankhamun, made of iron and gold.
2. Religious Tattoos
Today people make tattoos for various reasons: to capture a loved one, to emphasize their dissimilarity to others or to talk about their interests. The mummy found in the village of Deir el-Medina was proof that the ancient Egyptians also had tattoos. The mum of Deir el-Medina is a headless and armless torso, which belonged to a woman who lived between 1300 and 1070 BC.
Using infrared light, it was found 30 clearly distinguishable tattoos. What is unique in this mummy, she made tattoos during her lifetime, and not after death as a religious ritual. Most of the symbols were dedicated to the powerful goddess Hathor. Soon three similar mummies were discovered, the tattoos on which were also intended to express religious piety.
3. Images of demons
Another 4000 years ago, the Egyptians were very afraid of demons. However, until recently, scientists had no idea how the Egyptians represented them. So it was until they found two coffins dating back to the era of the Middle Kingdom (about 4,500 years ago), on which the oldest images of demons in the world were found. One of them, called In-mep, was a mixture of a dog and a baboon, and the other named Cheri-Benut, was an incomprehensible creature with a human head.
The demons are depicted as two guards entering the tomb, but for what they actually answered, it is not known. Also on another coffin was found the image of Ikenti – the demon, which looked like a big bird with a cat’s head.
4. Ancient heart disease
Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of the arteries, which is very common today. Sedentary lifestyle and a diet rich in fatty foods contribute to this disease. Therefore it is not surprising that doctors believed: atherosclerosis is a fairly new disease and it was not common in ancient populations. Egyptologists also found out that this was a very common disease and thousands of years ago.
After studying 52 mummies in the National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo, it turned out that 20 of them had signs of calcification, which means that they most likely suffered from atherosclerosis during their lifetime. Their average age was about 45 years, and they lived in the 16th century BC. One of the mummies belonged to the royal family, namely the princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon, who lived in Thebes and died at forty. She is considered the most ancient person who had coronary heart disease.
5. Egyptian women of fashion
In modern days when the hair of a woman begins to thin out, there are several ways to fix it. Apparently, women in the past had the same problem, because the remains of a woman who were found in the ruined Egyptian city of Amarna, had 70 hair extensions similar to those used today.
The hair was so well made that they survived to this day, although the rest of the woman’s body decomposed (she died 3300 years ago and was not mummified). In the cemetery on which the woman was buried, other bodies with henna-colored hair were found.
6. Mummified fetus
About 100 years ago a 45-centimeter sargophagus was excavated in Giza. He was taken to Cambridge University, where he was sent to the storerooms and forgot about him. Initially, they thought that in a tiny coffin for some reason they placed separate organs. But after a careful MRI study, it was discovered that it was actually a 16-18 week old human fetus that mummified and buried in its own specially designed sarcophagus, which contained intricate patterns and ornaments.
7. Cancer in the Egyptians
Like heart disease, cancer until recently was considered a very modern disease. This disease has never been mentioned in historical records. However, this does not mean that there was no cancer in the ancient world. According to recent studies, two mummies, male and female, have been found to show signs of suffering from oncology.
In 2015, the Spanish university found a mummy that showed signs of damage from breast cancer. The 4200-year-old mummy is the woman who lived during the sixth dynasty of the pharaohs.
8. The oldest papyrus
In 2011, archaeologist Pierre Tallet made a remarkable discovery in a remote area of Egypt, away from any civilization. In thirty caves in a limestone rock, a sort of warehouse for storing boats in ancient Egypt was discovered. But even more startling was the discovery that he made several years later, in 2013 – a series of papyri, written on both sides with hieroglyphics and hieratic letters (unofficial, everyday letter of the ancient Egyptians), and papyri are the oldest papyri that ever were detected.
Among them was found the journal of an official named Merer, who led a group of 200 men responsible for providing workers with materials and provisions for the construction of the Great Pyramid.
9. Brain drain in the ancient Egyptian way
In 525 BC, the Persian king Cambyses captured the Egyptian capital of Memphis. After the conquest of Egypt, most of the great Egyptian minds and artists began to be exported to Persia, to serve there as an empire. In Egypt there were only mediocre artists, which is perfectly visible on the coffin found in 2014. Despite the fact that no bodies were found in the coffin, the scientists established that the coffin dates back approximately to the years of the Persian occupation.
Interestingly, initially it was considered that the coffin was a fake, because it was made very roughly and poorly. However, later it turned out that this is really the original. On the coffin there are many bizarre images, including badly painted falcons (symbols of the god Horus), which are more like fish, four cans with the heads of four sons of Horus, described as “headless” and other blunders concerning Egyptian mythology.
10. Egyptian spells
In 2016, two papyrus scrolls of the third century of our era were deciphered, which were written in Greek. The 1700-year-old scrolls that were found centuries ago were kept at Oxford University in England. And only now it turned out that they were written spells designed to fall in love with another person. The author of the spells is unknown, but they mention several Gnostic gods.