Archaeologists from Southern Illinois University (USA) and Cambridge (UK) have found the oldest currently known ovarian tumor, a teratoma. The tumor included a bone mass and two teeth.
According to the Live Science newsletter, the teratoma was discovered inside the skeleton of a young woman during excavations of an Egyptian necropolis from the 14th century BC.
Excavations were conducted on the east bank of the Nile, south of Cairo, where there was an ancient city of Amarna about 3000 years ago. It existed for a short time and for about 15 years was considered the capital by Pharaoh Ehnaton. Nowadays, it is the ruins of ancient Egyptian temples, palaces, ordinary houses and including ancient burials of local residents.
In one of the multi-chambered underground tombs in the Northern Desert cemetery, archaeologists found the skeletal remains of a woman who was between 18 and 21 years old at the time of death. A shaft led to the burial chamber, the girl herself was wrapped in a mat of plant fibers.
Buried with her were buried funeral paraphernalia and a wedding ring with the image of the deity Bess, considered a protector against evil spirits, patron of the family and childbearing. Scientists noticed something unusual in the woman's pelvic region.
"It was a multilobed ovoid calcified mass and two associated teeth - in the pelvic cavity," the study said.
Experts considered five possible diagnoses to determine what the mass was, including cysts, a fetus frozen in the uterus and others. But the diagnosis concluded that it was an ovarian teratoma, a tumor that forms in the human reproductive system from germ cells.
According to modern medicine, it can be benign and malignant, and can involve various tissues - muscles, hair, bones, teeth and even more complex organs like the eyes. Such a tumor can cause pain and swelling, as well as burst and lead to internal infection. Today, the main treatment for a teratoma is its immediate surgical removal as soon as it is discovered.
Only four such findings are known in archaeology, three in Europe and one in Peru. In Egypt and in general on the territory of Africa, this is the first such discovery. In addition, the authors of the study note, it is the oldest of all.
Scientists suggest that this tumor was painful for the woman, as the Bess ring could be a healing object. This "magical-medical" artifact was placed during the funeral in the girl's left hand, folded in her lap over the tumor site.
According to the researchers, the young woman may have invoked the deity to protect her from pain and other symptoms or to help in her attempts to conceive a child.
According to modern data on the way of life in the ancient Egyptian settlement, at this age the girl could already have been married. And, most likely, she was working. In Amarna, women were engaged in various occupations, including construction work, brewing beer, tending gardens and domestic animals.
Experts call the discovery important and rare. Such finds help scientists learn more about medicine in the ancient cities of Egypt, beliefs and the meaning of magical objects.
We will remind, in Italy, archaeologists discovered a tomb, which was not touched for 2600 years.
Want to receive the most relevant news about the war and events in Ukraine - subscribe to our Telegram-channel!