Friday 4 December 2009
Source: Discovery News.
Worn teeth, periodontal diseases, abscesses and cavities tormented the ancient Egyptians, according to the first systematic review of all studies performed on Egyptian mummies in the past 30 years.
After examining research of more than 3,000 mummies, anatomists and paleopathologists at the University of Zurich concluded that 18% of all mummies in case reports showed a nightmare array of dental diseases.
CT imaging revealed an impressive collection of diseases, including bone disorders, infections and traumas being the most common disorders.
Infectious diseases among the mummies were also very common. In three cases the subjects most likely suffered from chronic infectious middle ear disease; other infectious diseases included tuberculosis and gangrenous stomatitis, an often fatal gangrene of the cheek and gums which affects mostly children.
Bone disorders and trauma abounded. The most prominent cases of fractures in pharaohs included the left middle finger in Ramses II, the third ruler of Egypt’s 19th Dynasty, better known as Ramesses the Great, and the skull lesions of Seqenenre Taa II, the 14th pharaoh of the Theban dynasty who probably died in a battle.
Most mummies dated to 3,500 to 2,000 years ago, a period when the embalming process was highly developed. However, despite the large number of reported diseases, much mystery remains about the mummies.