Anne Austin

  • Fellowship Dates 2014-2014
  • Research Topic A Bioarchaeological and Textual Analysis of Health Care at Deir el Medina
  • Fellow or Grant Type Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
  • Affiliation Pre-doctoral candidate University of California, Los Angeles

Studies addressing health from a biological standpoint rely on the universality of pain and illness, informing us about individuals’ suffering, but they neglect to explore how society directly impacted an individual’s health. Consequently, archaeologists need to develop a model for studying healthcare that incorporates both biological and social factors and analyzes not only how individuals died but what social mechanisms helped them survive. Egyptology is particularly well-positioned to consider the relationship between health and society; however, an enormous gap exists in our understanding of health in ancient Egypt – no study effectively combines texts concerning health with paleopathological information from human remains to link healthcare directly with evidence of disease and treatment. This research clarifies the relationship between society and health, specifically informing us about how economic, social and political position could directly improve or worsen an individual’s health status through an interdisciplinary analysis on health at the site of Deir el Medina in Luxor, Egypt. It uses a traditional paleopathological approach to health in the human remains from the site in combination with a textual analysis of letters, medical texts and state documents to gain a more holistic understanding of the intersection between morbidity patterns for the population at Deir el  Medina and the healthcare system in place for the town’s residents. Through these two separate data sets, this study assess how health care systems at Deir el Medina varied between individuals with different genders, statuses and occupations. It determines how health and healthcare systems in place at Deir el Medina changed after the economic and political collapse of the Egyptian state and how differing social mechanisms directly altered healthcare and morbidity patterns amongst the town’s inhabitants.

TopicsBioarchaeology, Egyptology, Texts & LiteratureThemeArchaeological Sites, Mummies & Coffins, People & SocietyHistoric PeriodNew KingdomLocationLuxor/Thebes


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