Severed Hands Discovered In Ancient Egyptian Palace Ruins

Archaeologists from the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the Austrian Academy of Sciences excavating a palace in the ancient city of Avaris, Egypt (today  Tell el-Daba) unearthed four pits with skeletons of 16 ancient severed hands.   All the hands were right hands, there were no left hands.

“Most of the hands are quite large and some of them are very large,” Manfred Bietak, project and field director of the excavations, told LiveScience.

The ancient city of Avaris was the capital of Hyksos Egypt.

The hands are about 3,600 years old and date to when Hyksos controlled parts of Egypt.

The Hyksos period is still very obscure from historical point of view, but the long going excavation of the Austrian team has contributed to a series of corrections in its historiography. The population originated most probably from Lebanon and northern Syria, as the newly discovered palace and the pottery shows. They were people with an urban background and came originally in the late 12th Dynasty (Middle Kingdom) as shipbuilders, sailors, soldiers and craftsmen to the country where the pharaohs settled them in a harbour town in the north-eastern Delta, the later city of Avaris. In a time of political weakness they were able to establish a small kingdom there and soon afterwards were able to control the Delta and Middle Egypt until their former vassals in Upper Egypt, particularly king Ahmose defeated them and founded the New Kingdom.  BiblePlaces

The palace is believed to have to have belonged to King Khayan of the Hyksos.  The ancient city of Avaris on the Nile Delta was the capital of Hyksos Egypt.

It was there in this outer space of the palace [forecourt] that two pits with altogether 14 cut off right hands were found.  Two more pits [believed to be the throne room of a palace] with one hand each were found under the four-columned building just at the front enclosure wall of the palace.  auaris.at

The pit of severed hands uncovered at Avaris, Egypt. (Australian Archaeological Institute/Excavation Report)

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