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April 15, 1911


JAMA. 1911;LVI(15):1110. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.02560150032017

When, in 1907, it was decided to increase the height of the great dam at Assuan, the Egyptian government sought to lessen, as far as possible, the destruction of the monuments and relics of ancient life on the Nile, by securing for scientific study as much as possible of the most valuable material which would be submerged by the rise of the waters. Numerous cemeteries on both banks of the river were explored, and no less than 6,000 bodies, representing burials during a period of 5.000 years, became available for study. Dr. Elliot Smith, professor of anatomy in the medical school at Cairo, who had already done much work with similar material, was in charge of the anthropological investigations, and largely because of his understanding of pathology the results as reported contain much of medical interest.1

It seems that even six thousand years ago, in predynastic times, the population