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History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings
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historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the
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Graeco-Roman mummies, painted wooden sarcophagi, jewellery and papyri have been unearthed in Deir Al-Banat necropolis in Fayoum
by Nevine El-Aref
Deir Al-Banat necropolis, which lies in the southern Fayoum, comprises a series of rock hewn tombs dating from the Graeco-Roman period through to early Christian times. To the north is a well preserved ruin of a mediaeval monastery with a fired brick church at its centre, a mud brick residential area and a refectory where the monks would have communal meals.
Between 1980 and 1995 the necropolis was the site of major excavations by the Egyptian Antiquities Authority, now the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). A collection of intact Roman burials were discovered along with disturbed Coptic graves containing bones and skulls. The necropolis was then neglected until 2002 when a joint Russian-American mission was given permission to conduct excavations and an anthropological survey.
Early studies of the necropolis revealed that the north western section had been subjected to widespread clandestine digging throughout the 1970s. The anthropological survey of unearthed skulls revealed that the majority of females died by the age of 30 with only 1.5 per cent reaching the age of 50. While males also had a high mortality rate between 18 and 30 far more survived into their 40s.