Human Remains; Skeleton



Skeleton of an adult from a burial at Kostamneh excavated in 1906. There are six shell bangles preserved on each arm. The feet and hands are missing. The bones of the skeleton are marked by the excavator with the grave number in pencil, "107 K'06". There is a photograph from 1906 in the archives of the Garstang Museum of Archaeology, Liverpool, of grave 107 K'06 showing a contracted burial with pottery and other personal items such as a cosmetic palette. The skeleton is displayed as a reassembled burial to illustrate a typical burial from about 5,200 years ago, just before the introduction of writing. Like other burials of this time the body rests on the left side with hands in front of the face, as if sleeping. Jars, empty or containing food and drink, suggest belief in some form of an afterlife. Even after the introduction of coffins most people were still buried in simple shallow pits dug into the dry desert sand. Mummification was a skilled and time-consuming process which few could afford.