Buriel 519 - Angel
Birth and death dates are unknown
Find A Grave Memorial

In May of 2013, it was reported that in a cemetery in Egypt, Archaeologists found the remains of a two or three year old child who showed signs of having been the oldest case of child abuse. In a Romano-Christian period cemetery in Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, a child's skeletal remains were found to have bones that appeared to have been broken multiple times during the young child's life. It is believed that the abuse took place because of an Egyptian belief that children needed to be toughened up as they aged. The child was said to have lived about 2,000 years ago.

Tests were done on the remains of this child and found what are called chemical markers which are left on a body when it is trying make repairs. This child had fractures on the forearm, ribs, back and pelvis all in different stages of healing an it was determined that this was further evidence that this child had been abused.

While brushing dirt from the skeleton, Sandra Wheeler, who is a Bioarchaelogist, along with the team, found the evidence of abuse and her thoughts were that what they found was weird:

"We have some other kids that show evidence of skeletal trauma, but this is
the only one that had these really extreme fracture patterns"

The team found that each of the arms had a fracture in the same exact spot, showing that the break had gone all the way through the bones and was said to have needed extreme force to have taken place. Researchers believe that this child was grabbed by the arms and then shaken violently and that is what caused the breaks while others seemed to be from being hit. The team was unable to say what had killed this child:

"It could be that last fracture which is the clavicle fracture"
Sandra Wheeler

Sandra sad that the breaks were complete and since children are more flexible than adults, it would have required a great deal of force to break both arms:

"Maybe it wasn't a survivable event"

Reports say that child abuse findings in Archaeological digs are rate but only because up until about 20 years ago, people believed that the remains of children were not able to reveal much about their pasts. During this dig, 158 children were examined and Burial 519 was the only one to show signs of abuse which leads to the thought that child abuse was not something that was a common occurrence in this community:

"We know that ancient Egyptians really revered children but we don't know
how much Roman ideas filtered into Egyptian society"
Sandra Wheeler

It is known that while Roman's loved their children, they believe that children were not born strong. Parents had the job of toughen them up to make them into good adults. Practicing corporal punishment was the norm for Roman's, newborns were immobilized on wooden planks believing it would make them grow properly and cold water was used for baths rather than warm water which they believed would soften the children. It was suggested that maybe the Roman's way of raising children may have found its way into Egypt and that might explain the child they have found who had been abused.

While this team decided to name this child burial 519, I gave this child the name Angel because I hate to think this child didn't have a name.

This page was created on November 10, 2014
Death occurred in Egypt

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