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Skeletons reveal ancient Egyptian scribes had bad posture at work

Statues depicting the high dignitary Nefer and his wife from Abusir, Egypt

Martin Frouz/Czech Institute of Egyptology, Charles University

Ancient Egyptian scribes who put brush to papyrus thousands of years ago are often depicted as kneeling or sitting cross-legged – working postures that apparently took a toll on their bones.

The skeletons of 30 such scribes show more degenerative changes in certain bones and joints compared with 39 other adult male Egyptians from the same region and time period. All the bodies were buried in a necropolis among the pyramids at Abusir, Egypt, between 2700 and 2180 BCE.

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