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Egypt: Home of the First Race Wars

New findings suggest that ancient Egypt was the scene of history's first ethnic conflict.

In the richly diverse and seemingly endless Sahara desert, on the east bank in the Nile river, lies one of the oldest cemeteries known to mankind; the Jebel Sahaba. What makes this cemetery so unique is not its age, but rather the reason behind its making. The remains found in northern Sudan are from the victims of the oldest communal violence discovered dating back to 11,000 BC and seem to tell the story of the world's first race war.

Scientists believe that the war broke out due to a severe climate change causing many ethnic groups to migrate to a location where food and shelter were easier to find. The climatic downturn caused many water sources to dry up which led to the death of vegetation and animals. Humans were then forced to pack up and head to the banks of the great Nile River. There they found themselves competing for limited resources. It is believed that both groups originated from different ethnic background; a sub-Saharan group and a North African/Levantine/European group. Most of the skeletons of the 59 victims display wounds proving that weapons were used in this violent outburst such as flint-tipped arrows. 

The British Museum in London displays some of the remains discovered as well as the weapons used during the war. Research still continues on the remains and the British Museum plan on investing in an in-depth research on the identity of the victims and the traditions of their group. 


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