Disability and archaeology

T710189_07Archaologists have released research suggesting that the disabled were cared for in the community from the earliest of times.

‘Burial 9’ is a young man who died 4000 years ago from a congenital bone disease called Klippel-Feil Syndrome.

Paralysed from the waist down, the body indicates that he was cleaned, clothed and fed throughout the ten years that he struggled with his incapacity and thus perceived as a valued member of his society. Far from the picture of stone-age life being seen as selfish and brutal, Tilley & Oxenham, from the Australian National University, argue that empathy and tolerance were the norm. Furthermore, other bodies exhumed as far afield as Iraq, Florida and Kenya also show evidence of severe disabilities which would have resulted in premature death had there been no support from the respective communities.

The full article from which this information was drawn can be found in The Times, 28.12.12. Thanks to Sarah Faulkener for sending in this very interesting piece.

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