Egypt Dig Turns Up Children's Footprints from 3,000 Years Ago

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February 14, 2017

Children's footprints from 3,000 years ago have emerged anew in a dig in Egypt.

Archaeologists excavating a royal building at Pi-Ramesse, Egypt's capital when Ramses II was pharaoh, found a few small footprints at the bottom fo a pit, in a layer of mortar that has survived all this time. The footprints measured 5.9–6.6 inches, and archaeologists said that that the feet that made those prints would have belonged to children aged 3–5.

The archaeology team, from Hildesheim, Germany's Roemer Pelizaeus Museum, found the pit, which measured 8 feet by 26 feet, in a large building that is thought to have been a temple or even a royal palace. The 820-foot-by-480-foot building, first found in a large excavation carried out in 1996–2012, is thought to have been the size of Ramses II's funerary temple, known as the Ramesseum.

Ramses II was on the Egyptian throne for 66 years. A famed builder, he ordered many dozen statues of himself and his various wives built throughout the land over which he reigned. He is perhaps best known for his claim of achieving a decisive victory over the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh and for the massive statues of him and his first wife, Nefertari, at Abu Simbel.

The tiny footprints are of slightly different sizes, but archaeologists said that they had no proof yet that the footprints were made by more than one child.

Also found in the pit were fragments of wall plaster, in different colors.

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