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A two to three year old boy belonging to the Roman-Christian period found in the Dakhleh Oasis cemetery in Egypt shows the first case of child abuse documented in the archaeological record.
This place has witnessed the continued human occupation since the Neolithic, which is why it is in the focus of several archaeological investigations. On the other hand, the oasis is a place that allows scientists to obtain unique data about the origin of Christianity in Egypt.
When researchers came across the abused child, “Burial 519” in Kellis Cemetery 2, nothing seemed at first out of the ordinary. But when the sand was brushed, fractures were found in the boy's arms, followed by a broken collarbone. Despite having found other children with fractures, the ones in this particular case they weren't normal.
The researchers decided to carry out a test series on burial 519 and found a very high number of fractures in the humerus, ribs, pelvis and back. Considering that there is no single fracture in particular the diagnosis has been of child abuse. The injuries were in different stages of healing, indicating that they were repeated non-accidental traumas.
One of the most interesting fractures is found in the same place to both arms and suggests that the boy was held tightly on both sides and violently shaken. Some injuries may have been caused by the jolt but others are shown as direct hits. Archaeologists are not sure what ultimately killed the boy.
Perhaps little attention has been paid to children in the belief that these they couldn't tell us much about our past and therefore it is a unique case in the archaeological record. Some cases had already been found during medieval or later times. The uniqueness of the case supports the general belief that children were a valuable part of Egyptian society.
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.