A plague so horrible that the dead were disposed of in unusual or violent ways is not just the stuff of zombie movies. Newly unearthed remains at Luxor in Egypt reveal an ancient plague so potent that religious burial rites were completely overlooked before the bodies were incinerated or buried under lime. “We found evidence of corpses either burned or buried inside the lime…They had to dispose of them without losing any time…”


Here, a bonfire where many of the victims of an ancient epidemic in the ancient city of Thebes in Egypt were ultimately incinerated.
Credit: Photo by N. Cijan © Associazione Culturale per lo Studio dell’Egitto e del Sudan ONLUS.


Remains of ‘End of the World’ Epidemic Found in Ancient Egypt

By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor



“Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of an epidemic in Egypt so terrible that one ancient writer believed the world was coming to an end.


Working at the Funerary Complex of Harwa and Akhimenru in the west bank of the ancient city of Thebes (modern-day Luxor) in Egypt, the team of the Italian Archaeological Mission to Luxor (MAIL) found bodies covered with a thick layer of lime (historically used as a disinfectant). The researchers also found three kilns where the lime was produced, as well as a giant bonfire containing human remains, where many of the plague victims were incinerated.


Pottery remains found in the kilns allowed researchers to date the grisly operation to the third century A.D., a time when a series of epidemics now dubbed the “Plague of Cyprian” ravaged the Roman Empire, which included Egypt. Saint Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage (a city in Tunisia) who described the plague as signaling the end of the world. [See Photos here of the Remains of Plague Victims & Thebes Site]”…


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