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AIA-OC Society Lecture: A Burial’s Burden: Occupational Stress in Ancient Egypt
Feb 21, 2021 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm PST
Popular depictions of ancient Egypt often focus on the labor required to build, decorate, and complete major building projects like the pyramids. Yet, these depictions rarely take into consideration the variety of evidence we have from ancient Egyptian bodies and texts. This lecture evaluates evidence from three major building projects in ancient Egypt: the Giza pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and the city of Akhetaten. Beginning with a detailed discussion of the bioarchaeology of Deir el-Medina, we will explore how texts and comparative skeletal material help us to reconstruct how state building projects impacted the health of ancient Egyptian workers. We will then evaluate what kind of health care support the state did and did not provide to maintain its workforce.
Matson Lecturer, Anne Austin is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Archaeology at the University of Missouri—St. Louis. Her research combines the fields of osteology and Egyptology in order to better understand daily life in ancient Egypt. Specifically, she uses data from ancient Egyptian human remains and daily life texts to reconstruct ancient Egyptian health care networks and identify the diseases and illnesses people experienced in the past. While working in Egypt, Anne discovered the only known ancient Egyptian tattoos on a mummy with over 30 different tattoos. Anne’s next research project will focus on the practice of tattooing in ancient Egypt and its potential connections to gender, religion, and medicine. In addition to her interested in Egyptology and osteology, Anne works on improving archaeological data management practices through her participation in an international, collaborative ethnographic research study on archaeological field schools.
For a short (4-minute) video summarizing our first discovery of a tattooed woman, see http://histoires-courtes.fr/v.html?subject=Austin&fbclid=IwAR22qGIEO-WCI4w8Z2qIuaK5qMgDKjWv9rADIowXwVTZx5Ms7vxlxvbEW2M