In terms of history, the Second Intermediate Period pertains to around hundred years (from 1650 BC to 1550 BC) when Ancient Egypt fell into a state of disarray after the so-called invasion of the Hyksos people. As a result, numerous local kingdoms cropped up in different areas of the fertile land – with one of them being the short-lived Abydos Dynasty. And now, historians have found out that Pharaoh Senebkay of this very dynasty died a brutal death at a battle with no less than 18 wounds being inflicted upon his body. In fact, with this incredible discovery, Senebkay is recorded to be the earliest pharaoh to have died in a battle in the annals of history.
Interestingly, the very existence of Pharaoh Senebkay was only confirmed last year, when an archaeological team from University of Pennsylvania (headed by Josef Wegner) collaborated with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, and unearthed his remains inside a multi-chambered tomb at South Abydos (which is almost 300 miles south of present-day Cairo). Unfortunately, for the archaeologists, tomb robbers had already stripped and desecrated the king’s mummy. Still the researchers managed to reassemble the bones, and then made their analysis. In regard to this forensic-based outcome, Wegner listed out the gruesome injuries –
The work confirms the earlier estimates of the king’s height at 1.72 to 1.82 m (5’9″ to 6 feet), but indicates that he died at an earlier age, 35-40 years, than initially thought. The king’s skeleton has 18 wounds that penetrated to the bone. The trauma includes major cuts to his feet, ankles, and lower back. Multiple blows to Senebkay’s skull show the distinctive size and curvature of battle axes used during Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period.
In an intriguing note, the historians further found out that Pharaoh Senebkay was on an elevated position (most probably on a horse) when he was brought down and killed. This discovery does mirror the injuries found along his feet and ankles – which suggests that at first he was attacked along his legs, then dragged down, and finally killed with ax-blows to the head. Beyond such bloodcurdling details, it is pretty fascinating to note that horseback riding seemed to have been a common tactic used during battles (especially among nobles) in spite of chariot technology being prevalent in Ancient Egypt.
However, the battle scenario in itself still remains a mystery. To that end, the researchers have put forth their hypothesis that Pharaoh Senebkay might have met his ghastly end when battling against the dominant Hyksos kings of the 15th Dynasty.
Via: Discovery News
Top Image Credit: Josef Wegner.