Publication details

A Trauma of Cervical Spine Described in the Edwin Smith Papyrus Found in a Ptolemaic Tomb at Saqqaral



Year of publication 2007
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Description A curious find of a healed trauma of the cervical spine was found in a small tomb 99/I (Ptolemaic period) in the inner courtyard of the Memphite Tomb of Horemheb at Saqqara in 1999. Vertebrae C4-C5 suffered a traumatic dislocation from their physiological position after the compressive fracture. The same sort of the trauma was known also to the author of the Edwin Smith Papyrus (it corresponding to that of our find can be found in Case 33, dealing with traumatic lesions of the cervical vertebrae). In distinction to the unfavourable prognosis of Case 33, our find of the fourth cervical vertebra incarcerated in the fifth one shows uneqivocal signs of a reparative process. The afflicted man evidently survived for a long-lasting period his deadly trauma, even if with serious neurological sequels. Our new find offers a contribution to fill a gap between descriptions of pathological cases and syndroms in Ancient Egyptian papyri and the lack of their evidence in the archaeological record.

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