Cache of severed hands found in Egypt, 15th Dynasty, Second Intermediate Period (Hyksos Period), Circa 1600 BC
The discovery of 16 buried hands found at the ancient site of Avaris in Egypt provides the first and only physical evidence of a gruesome practice used by ancient warriors where the severed hands of enemy combatants were exchanged for gold. The hands were found in four pits dating back 3,600 years.
All of the hands are right hands and they are from a period when the Hyksos, from northern Canaan, established the center of their kingdom at ancient Avaris, near modern Tell el-Daba. The Hyksos King Khyan was thought to be living at the Palace at the time the hands were buried.
Lake Natron “takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.”
(Images: Nick Brandt)