Severed Human Hands


Credit: Photo by Axel Krause



Archaeologists have made an important discovery in an ancient Hyksos site in Egypt. Digging at the ancient palace of King Khayan, a Hyksos ruler who controlled Egypt 3600 ago, archaeologists have discovered sixteen human hands buried in four pits.

According to a report published in LiveScience, the right hands were buried in four pits inside Khayan’s palace. The report says the severed hands provide evidence of an ancient custom of Egyptian soldiers cutting off their enemies’ right hands and exchanging them for gold.

No one knows the origin of the custom of cutting off the enemies’ right hand. According to the article in LiveScience,

Cutting off the right hand of an enemy was a practice undertaken by both the Hyksos and the Egyptians.

One account is written on the tomb wall of Ahmose, son of Ibana, an Egyptian fighting in a campaign against the Hyksos. Written about 80 years later than the time the 16 hands were buried, the inscription reads in part:

“Then I fought hand to hand. I brought away a hand. It was reported to the royal herald.” For his efforts, the writer was given “the gold of valor.”

Later, in a campaign against the Nubians, to the south, Ahmose took three hands and was given “gold in double measure,” the inscription suggests.

For more information on this discovery, visit LiveScience online.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary


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