Hard Times in the Country, 2300 BCE

Shock, horror as British archeologists determine that Egyptian slaves lived briefly and not at all well.

“The bones reveal a darker side to life, a striking reversal of the image that Akhenaten promoted, of an escape to sunlight and nature” says Professor Barry Kemp who is leading the excavations.

BBC Grim secrets of Pharaoh’s city By John Hayes-Fisher BBC Timewatch

I had thought Akhenaten was worthy of the people’s trust. How will the BBC evade inevitable questions of to the very basis of divine authority?

The temples and palaces required thousands of large stone blocks. Working in summer temperatures of 40C (104F), the workers would have had to chisel these out of the rock and transport them 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the quarries to the city.

The bone remains show many workers suffered spinal and other injuries. “These people were working very hard at very young ages, carrying heavy loads,” says Professor Rose.

“The incidence of youthful death amongst the Amarna population was shockingly high by any standard.” Not many lived beyond 35. Two-thirds were dead by 20.

Timewatch: The Pharaoh’s Lost City is on
BBC Two on Saturday, 26 January at 2010 GMT

More on this story as it develops following its PBS broadast, two days after the U.S. presidential elections.

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Posted on January 28, 2008, in BBC and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. ‘Absolute power’ as they say. It’s not surprising really.

  2. It probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Slave labor inevitably suffers.

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