Excavations conducted between 2007 and 2013 at the Ptolemaic-Roman cemetery site at Quesna, located in the western Delta of Egypt, have revealed the skeletal remains of 151 individuals. During these excavations, two individuals buried with above average stature and completely unfused epiphyses were discovered in separate burials. One individual was interred in a mudbrick tomb containing additional, non-affected decedents. The other was interred discretely in an unusual position in relation to other burials in the cemetery, and with a large number of funerary amulets. In this presentation we propose and evaluate two potential etiologies for the observed osteological conditions: one genetic, involving disruption of normal endocrinal functions, and the other cultural, involving the excision of the testes (i.e. castration) at an early age. An exploration of the skeletal and historical evidence for the presence of eunuchs in Ancient Egypt is also presented. Regardless of the etiology, however, these individuals would likely have appeared sexually ambiguous in life, and this presumably had far-reaching social implications involving gender roles, identity and mortuary treatment.
|Number of pages||1|
|Journal||American Journal of Physical Anthropology|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Mar 2017|
|Event||86th Annual Meeting of the American-Association-of-Physical-Anthropologists (AAPA) - New Orleans, Lao People's Democratic Republic|
Duration: 19 Apr 2017 → 22 Apr 2017