GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 47-9
Presentation Time: 3:35 PM


VASILYEV, Sergey1, IVANOV, Sergey V.1, KHARLAMOVA, Natalia V.2 and BORUTSKAYA, Svetlana B.3, (1)Centre for Egyptological Studites the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky prospekt, 29 p. 8, Moscow, 119071, Russian Federation, (2)Center for Physical Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences N.N. Miklouho-Maklay Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Leninsky prospekt, 32a, Moscow, 119334, Russian Federation, (3)Faculty of Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie gory, 1 b.12, Moscow, 119234, Russian Federation

The Theban tomb No 23 (TT 23) is located in Egypt, in Luxor in the area of Sheikh abd el-Qurna. It was built in the 13th century BC for Tjay, who was the scribe of the royal dispatchers of the king Merenptah. TT23 belongs to the type of temple-tombs that features most elements essential for a temple: a pylon, an open court, and inner galleries that lead to a sanctuary; just before the sanctuary small opening in the connects the “temple” to the “tomb” and opens the sloping passage to the burial chamber that is located c. 20 meters below the level of the tomb entrance. The walls of the tomb are decorated with painted reliefs, the highest quality of which can be compared to decoration of the royal tombs.

After Tjay’s burial this tomb was heavily reused for the next thousand years; the initial architectural plan was dramatically changed by numerous secondary burial chambers carved in various parts of TT23.

This paper aims to present results of paleoanthropological studies based on the human skeletal remains collected in TT 23 by the expedition of Centre for Egyptological Studites the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2003–2014. All human remains come from ancient tomb robbers’ and 1900s excavation debris. They consist mainly of fragmented parts of mummified bodies. The minimal number of individuals found can be estimated as 150 based on the mandibles. Noteworthily 10 complete skulls belonged to Caucasian Mediterranean and, presumably, rather homogeneous group. Enamel hypoplasia, periodontosis, caries, severe teeth wear, and chipping were common among human remains of TT 23.

Based on study of 14 post-cranial skeletons one can make a preliminary conclusion that people, whose remains were discovered in TT 23 had dolichomorphic somatic type with oblong distal parts of limb and rather gracile skeletons. This can be a sign of physical adaptation to tropical or arid climate. Estimation of the muscular relief on the long bones reveals a weak development of muscular system that can be point to high social rank of the individuals in question.

There are frequent cases of porosis of the long bones that can be a result of deficiency of calcium (and probably iodine) in food and water of the deceased.