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Egyptian Headlines of April 2009

From ancient healing practices to the discovery of beautifully painted mummies in Egypt, news headlines associated with the ancient Egyptian culture have appeared in April of 2009. In this article, you will encounter more information on herbal wine and what was found in an ancient burial chamber located close to Cairo.

Ancient Medicinal Practice , Herbal Wine

When ancient Egyptians fell ill, what do you think they used to cure their condition? In April, it was revealed that researchers have uncovered evidence that shows the Egyptians added medicinal herbs to their wine, making it a curative approach that dates back around 5,000 years into the past. Using chemical analysis to date pottery to 3150 BC, researchers have detected herbs and resins that were mixed with grape wine. This means that the tradition of using herbal wine to treat medical problems date back thousands of years.

Patrick E. McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology led an investigation into the matter. He released a report in an edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, which stated that the ancient Egyptians put tree resin into their wine as a method of disease prevention , a practice that has also showed up in ancient Chinese records. The use of added herbs to wine additionally continued throughout the Middle Ages.

A variety of herbs were chosen for the mixing into wine, but they also appeared in versions of ancient beer and other liquids used for treating medical concerns. Analysis of wine resin showed the present of such additions, like blue tansy and artemisia, which belong to the wormwood family. The possible presence of balm, senna, coriander, germander, mint, sage and thyme, was also detected.

Mummies Discovered in Ancient Burial Chamber

The antiquities chief of Egypt reports that archaeologists working at an Egyptian site have stumbled upon a necropolis containing dozens of mummies dating painted in bright colors that are an estimated 4,000 years old. For those of you that don’t know, a necropolis is a large cemetery or place of burial that often dates back to the times of ancient civilizations. The excavation took place close to the Ilahun pyramid, located in Fayoum oasis (south of Cairo). The efforts of researchers have revealed dozens of mummies positioned in more than 50 tombs surrounding by rock.

Dating back to the Middle Kingdom days, the mummies represent a time period between 2061and 1786 BC. The find is considered a great achievement with four of the corpses dating back to the 22nd Dynasty (from 931 to 725 BC). The sight is something to see, as the mummies were wrapped in linen and painted in shades of turquoise, terracotta and gold , the traditional ancient colors of Egypt.

Head of the burial chamber mission, Abdel-Rahman el-Ayedi, also revealed that a Middle Kingdom funerary chapel was discovered , complete with an offering table. He estimates that this artifact was probably used until the Roman era, which lasted from 30 BC to 337 AD. Gloriously painted mummies were not the only things found during this excavation, the research team also located a collection of painted masks (15 in total), as well as various amulets and clay pots.