Interment in ceramic vessels may have symbolized a rebirth to afterlife
Béatrix Midant-Reynes/Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale
New research is stirring the pot about an ancient Egyptian burial practice.
Many ancient peoples, including Egyptians, buried some of their dead in ceramic pots or urns. Researchers have long thought these pot burials, which often recycled containers used for domestic purposes, were a common, make-do burial for poor children.
But at least in ancient Egypt, the practice was not limited to children or to impoverished families, according to a new analysis. Bioarchaeologist Ronika Power and Egyptologist Yann Tristant, both of Macquarie University in Sydney, reviewed published accounts of pot burials at 46 sites, most near the Nile River and dating from about 3300 B.C. to 1650 B.C. Their results appear in the December Antiquity.