A case of metastatic carcinoma in an Old Kingdom skeleton from Saqqara

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talkResearch


    Bone tumours, both benign and malignant, have been identified in a number of ancient Egyptian skeletal remains. Another case comes from Burial 554 uncovered in one of the shaft-tombs in the Old Kingdom necropolis at Saqqara-West. This disturbed burial comprised the skeletal remains of a female, aged 50-60 years at the time of death. Macroscopic examination of the remains revealed an extensiveosteolytic lesion in the neurocranium, with osteoblastic reactions at the margin, and further smaller perforations surrounding the lesion. Such lesions perforating both cortical tables are characteristic of metastatic carcinoma, a malignant neoplasm that could spread to bone directly from an adjacent soft tissue tumour,or metastasise from a cancer of internal organ. In the present case, the bone tumour is likely to be a metastasis from carcinoma of the brain; however, a metastasis from carcinoma of the breast should also be considered. Thelatter has been identified as the most common cause of metastatic bone disease in females, according to modern clinical studies.
    Period31 Jan 2013
    Event titleBioarchaeology of Ancient Egypt
    Event typeConference
    LocationCairo, EgyptShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionInternational


    • Ancient Egypt
    • Old Kingdom
    • Saqqara
    • metastatic carcinoma