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Egyptian Palace Reveals 12 Disembodied Hands, Unearthed by Archaeologists 3,500 Years Later!

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A new study has found that dozens of severed hands found in the courtyard of an ancient Egyptian palace may be the result of a horrific ‘chalice-taking’ ritual by foreign invaders.

Egyptian tomb and temple inscriptions depict mutilated or amputated hands in the early New Kingdom from the sixteenth to the eleventh century BC. For the first time, archaeologists have found and analyzed real amputated hands, according to the authors of the new study.

“It belonged to at least eleven men and possibly one woman,” the study authors wrote in their published article.

Pit with severed hands may be the remains of a terrible ancient Egyptian ceremony https://t.co/UcosZCcFJz

— ScienceAlert (@ScienceAlert) April 5, 2023

The team members analyzed what they identified as right hands, which were originally found in 2011 buried in three separate pits in the courtyard of the Hyksos palace at Avaris/Tel el-Dabaa in northeastern Egypt.

The history of the palace dates back to the Fifteenth Dynasty (1640-1530 BC), when the Hyksos kings ruled Lower and Middle Egypt, all the way to the city of Kosai, known today as Al-Qusayya. It was believed that the Hyksos were the conquerors of Egypt and their kings were the civilization’s first foreign rulers, although recent evidence suggests that this may have been misunderstood.

The severed hands found during the excavation belonged to at least 12 adults, according to a German and Austrian research team, although the discovery of several incomplete hands and fingers means there could have been up to 18 hands in total.

Led by paleontologist Julia Greske of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, the team first studied what led to the placement of the severed hands. Medical science examines corpses and body parts after death and evaluates the processes of preservation, decomposition and petrification.

Although it is not uncommon for body parts to fly apart over time due to severe flooding or gradual weathering and erosion, researchers believe the severed hands may have been placed deliberately.

“After removing any attached parts of the forearm, the hands were placed on the floor with the fingers spread wide, especially on either side of the palms,” the researchers write.

The proximal carpal row, a group of 8 small carpal bones that connects the hands to the forearms, was found intact in 6 of the 12 arms examined. No bone fragments were found in the lower arm, leading researchers to speculate that the arms were deliberately amputated by cutting the joint capsule and then severing the tendons that cross the wrist.

“Maiming people without concern for survival is often done by cutting off the hand in any anatomical position,” Gresky and his colleagues explain. “This method is faster and easier, but leaves part of the lower arm attached to the hand. If this is the case with these hands, then people those who display them will take care to properly present them on separate parts of the forearm.

When the hands were found in the pits, they were still “soft and pliable,” according to the researchers, suggesting that the hands were buried either before rigor mortis began or shortly after they died.

The appearance of the disease also differs in different parts of the body, and rigor mortis usually begins 6–8 hours after death. Thus, scientists concluded that people were probably dismembered during or shortly before the ceremony, and hands were placed in the hole when a dead body passed by.

According to researchers, right amputation was practiced by the Hyksos in Egypt about 50–80 years before it was written down in hieroglyphs.

They wrote: “The Egyptians adopted this custom at the latest during the reign of King Ahmose, as evidenced by the pile of hands in his temple at Abydos.”

One of the most important questions this study proposes to answer is whether mutilation is a form of punishment or a reward for military victories.

They say here: “The location, handling, and possibly placement of the severed hands refutes the hypothesis of punishing law enforcement as a motive for these actions.”

The pits in which the hands were buried were located in the large courtyard of the palace, in front of the throne room. The team believes that placing it in such a prominent, public place is indicative of how widespread the practice of “taking trophies” is.

The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: Science Alert

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