A sexy new study involving beautifully preserved corpses at an ancient Egyptian cemetery in the Dakhleh Oasis revealed some sexy insight into the sex lives of sex-crazed Egyptians: they enjoyed having procreative, penis + vagina = new person sex in July and August, when the temperatures in the Dakhelh Oasis can soar into the 100s.
Performing any sort of physical activity when the weather is that hot seems counterintuitive, especially in a historical age when everyone smells vaguely like feces and the most appealing places to swim are crowded with hungry crocodiles. Best just to stay in one’s domicile and doodle zoomorphic deities on one’s brand-new palimpsest. After all, even now, when we have all sorts of fancy air conditioning units and tanning oils, people still prefer to conceive in December, when the cold weather and holiday desperation bring the genitals of all sorts of people (Americans, anyway) cozily together by a roaring fire, on a bearskin, with cocoa and surging classical music.
Not so with Egyptians living in the halcyon days of the Roman Empire. Researchers looking at a burial site in the town of Kellis that dates back 1,800 years (right around the time that Christianity was starting to spread its tendrils through the Mediterranean) found well-preserved evidence (read: bodies) suggesting that the peak time for births in Kellis was in March and April, and the peak time for conceptions was in July and August.
A team led by Lana Williams, a professor at the University of Central Florida, has uncovered the following evidence pinpointing late summer as prime Egyptian fucking season:
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.
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.
Williams told LiveScience that the latest study, which researchers present at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Honolulu, is unique in that, “No one has ever looked at it using the actual individuals themselves, the biological aspects of it.” Also unique, it seems, are the apparent mating habits of earthbound Egyptians: conception rates in other Mediterranean cultures didn’t peak in the summer, possible proof that, even as Egyptians nominally converted to Christianity during the latter days of the Roman Empire, their ingrained reverence for the Nile’s annual summer flooding made them associate late summer with increased fertility.
Image via AP, Francois Mori