2020-04-01 TechLife

(singke) #1
A so-called all-male ‘holy
mountain’ in northern Greece has
hosted Christian monasteries for
nearly 2,000 years, with women
strictly prohibited. But one
woman may have found a home
there – at least in death.
During a recent restoration in
the Pantokratoros Monastery on
Mount Athos, archaeologists
unearthed bones under the chapel
floor that were smaller than most
of the other remains found at the
site. In fact, some experts are
claiming that these diminutive
bones once belonged to a female.
“As far as I know, this is the first
case that bones belonging to a
woman have been discovered on
Mount Athos,” architect and
restorer Phaidon Hadjiantoniou,
the project leader for the
excavation, told theGreek Reporter.
The size and shape of a sacrum,
shinbone and forearm, for

example, differed from the rest.
“While the others were more
robust and had clearly belonged to
the frames of men, these had
measurements that noticeably fell
in the range of a female,”
anthropologist Laura Wynn-
Antikas, who examined the
remains, toldThe Guardian.
Women are not allowed within
0.5 kilometres of the Mount Athos
coast. The ban, which has been in
place since the 10th century, was
enacted so that the Virgin Mary
would represent the sole female
presence on the mountain, the
BBC reported in 2016. Further
tests will be required to determine
if the bones from the chapel are
truly female, and the remains are
currently undergoing analysis at
laboratories in Athens, according
to theGreek Reporter.
Mindy Weisberger

Old bones in all-male

monastery likely female

One of these things is not like the other.

Merit-Ptah is
often cited as the
first woman
doctor, but new
findings suggest
she never existed.

Aerial view of the
Monastery in
Mount Athos,
Greece, on 7
November 2017.

© Getty

First female doctor
may never have
Merit-Ptah was an Egyptian
physician, often revered as the
world’s first female doctor. She
was thought to live nearly
5, 000years ago, but she likely
never existed.
“Merit-Ptah was
everywhere,” Jakub
Kwiecinski, a medical historian
at the University of Colorado’s
School of Medicine, said in a
UC statement. “And yet with
all these mentions, there was
no proof that she really
existed.” Kwiecinski spent
some time searching through
literature, looking for any such
proof. He traced the first
mention of Merit-Ptah to a
1938 book describing the
history of women in medicine
around the world, written by
medical historian, doctor and
activist Kate Campbell
In her book she identified
the first woman doctor as
Merit-Ptah, describing how
she lived during the fifth
dynasty of Egypt’s ‘Old
Kingdom’, or about 2730 BCE.
Inside the tomb of her high
priest child was a picture and
tablet that described Merit-
Ptah as ‘the chief physician’,
Hurd-Mead wrote. However,
the burial ground in the Valley
of the Kings didn’t exist until
Egypt’s New Kingdom, around
1, 000years after Merit-Ptah
was thought to have lived.
Yasemin Saplakoglu
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