The Japan Times, March 26, 1997

Ancient skull in Egypt shows signs of cancer

CAIRO (Reuter) Egyptian experts said Monday they found evidence of cancer in the skull of a worker who helped build the Giza pyramids 4,600 years ago.
"In our excavations of the tombs of the workmen who built the pyramids, we found two cemeteries. In the lower cemetery of the workmen who moved the stones to build the pyramid, we found one skull. It's very important," said arahaeologist Zahi Hawas, director of the Giza Plateau, where the pyramids are.

"We did analyses of that skull through the National Research Center. It is the first time in archaeology that you see one individual dated back to 4,600 years ago and he had cancer," he explained.

Hawas said the skull and other finds of bones at the tombs could help increase the understanding of medical practices in ancient Egypt.
The skull was peppered at its top with holes ranging from the size of a large coin to a pea.
Azza Ezzeddin, a researcher at the center, said the man was about 35 to 40 when he died.
She said the lesions in the skull and others found in his ribs point to a diagnosis of carcinoma, a type of cancer.


GIZA, Egypt An antiquities expert here Monday points to holes in a 4,600-year-old skull that indicate evidence of cancer. REUTER PHOTO