Cemetery reveals Egypt's birth patterns

Cemetery reveals Egypt's birth patterns

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The peak season for conceiving children in ancient Egypt it was located between July and August, months in which it was warmer in this area.

Researchers recently discovered a cemetery at Dakhleh Oasis, where they verified that the bodies buried there belonged to people who had lived in the city of Kellis and who lived at a time when Christianity was spreading strongly but Egyptian beliefs were still strong.

In total 765 tombs have been discovered, of which 124 individuals were between 18 and 45 weeks old. Researchers have also been able to establish the months in which they died since the graves were in a position where the rising sun is usually located during the course of the year.

The information obtained suggests that the season in which more births occurred was between March and April, the term for conception being between July and August. The period in which fertile women used to die was also between March and April, possibly due to their death during childbirth. This is the first time such patterns are established with information obtained through burials.

Due to beliefs about fertility and its relationship with the Nile floods, summer must have been a blessed time for the conception of children since during these months increased 20% more than the average. On the contrary, January was the lowest time for conception perhaps due to the spread of Christianity that prohibited sexual intercourse during Advent and Lent.

Due to the strong influence these beliefs had, people developed a type of contraceptive among which some of the ingredients were crocodile dung and honey. However, from the papyri in which these substances are detailed there is no clear explanation of how they were introduced into the body. What is interesting about these ingredients are their qualities such as the acid in manure and the antibacterial action of honey, which could have worked as a spermicide.

I was born in Madrid on August 27, 1988 and since then I started a work of which there is no example. Fascinated by both numbers and letters and a lover of the unknown, that is why I am a future graduate in Economics and Journalism, interested in understanding life and the forces that have shaped it. Everything is easier, more useful and more exciting if, with a look at our past, we can improve our future and for that… History.

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