Friday, June 15, 2012, 6:30 PM
Location: Benjamin T. Rome Auditorium of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
Dr. Chahira Kozma of the Georgetown University Medical Center will present: “The Ancient Egyptian Dwarfs of the Pyramids: The High Official and the Female Worker”
In this lecture Dr. Kozma describes two skeletons of dwarfs that date to 2700-2184 BCE and were unearthed from a funerary complex near the Great Pyramids in Giza. The first skeleton belongs to a high official, Per-ni-ankh-w, who died between 45-50 years of age. His statue is on display in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo. The second skeleton belongs to a pregnant female worker found with a fetus in situ. Her estimated age at death was 25-30 years. She most likely died during childbirth due to a small pelvic outlet as supported by her narrow sacrum. Radiological examination of both skeletons confirmed the clinical diagnosis of achondroplasia (a type of dwarfism).
Ancient Egyptians concerned themselves with the search for spiritual fulfillment through the tradition of moral teachings. Amenemope, a wise man who lived during the reign of Amenhotep III (1391-1354 BCE), advocated respect toward individuals with disabilities:
Do not jeer at a blind man nor tease a dwarf,
Neither interfere with the condition of a cripple.
Do not taunt a man who is in the hand of God,
Nor scowl at him if he errs.
In summary, artistic, biological, and written resources indicate that dwarfs were well integrated in ancient Egyptian society.
This work was published by the American Journal of Medical Genetics in 2011 (Am J Med Genet Part A 155:1817–1824) and coauthored by the following Egyptian and American scientists: Sarrly El Din AM., El Shafy El Banna AB., Abd El Samie Kandeel, W. Lachman R.
Dr. Chahira Kozma is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Georgetown University Medical Center. She is the Chief of the Division of Clinical Genetics and Developmental Pediatrics.
Dr. Kozma is the author of numerous publications in genetics, developmental pediatrics as well as dwarfs in ancient Egypt. For more information about Dr. Kozma’s interest in ancient Egypt, please visit Georgetown university website for a recent publication on this subject. http://gumc.georgetown.edu/news/stories/286635.html