Saturday, May 18, 2013

Late-Antique Egyptian Sex

When did late-antique Egyptians have the most sex?  Evidently that is a question some archaeologists are asking.  From the Huffington Post:

So far, researchers have uncovered 765 graves, including the remains of 124 individuals that date to between 18 weeks and 45 weeks after conception. The excellent preservation let researchers date the age of the remains at death. The researchers could also pinpoint month of death, as the graves were oriented toward the rising sun, something that changes predictably throughout the year. [See Images of the Ancient Egypt Cemetery]
The results, combined with other information, suggested the peak period for births at the site was in March and April, and the peak period for conceptions was in July and August, when temperatures at the Dakhleh Oasis can easily reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). 
The peak period for the death of women of childbearing age was also in March and April (exactly mirroring the births), indicating that a substantial number of women died in childbirth.
Evidently different from other Mediterranean countries when sex dwindled in the hot summer months, Egyptians were having more of it.  The article suggests that it would have coincided with the summer flooding of the Nile and, therefore, with the most obvious symbol of Egyptian fertility.  There is also a quick discussion of contraceptives.

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