The knowledge that life is precious and that our hold on life is tenuous has haunted humans for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians had a strong belief surrounding life, death and the afterlife. For many, what defines the ancient Egyptians is not their lives, but their deaths and the funerary practices surrounding their death cults. As fascinating as the life after death aspect of the ancient Egyptian culture is, what often eludes common knowledge is how these people strove to preserve the lives of the living as much as they strove to preserve the lives of the souls of the dead. The following research will focus on the illnesses and cures of the ancient Egyptians, specifically the ancient Egyptians of the oases in the Western Desert. I will cover a number of illnesses that could have been common to the oases by looking both at the physical remains of the ancient oasis dwellers and the medical papyri left behind by ancient physicians. From these sources I will provide an overview of the preservation of life in ancient Egypt in the oases, one of the harshest environments the ancients could have encountered.
Page Marilene Strong, ’08 Longmont, CO
Sponsors: Marty Condon and Alfrieta Monagan