Friday, January 11, 2008

Zombie Attack at Hierakonpolis

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
by Renée Friedman

Weighing the evidence for and dating of Solanum virus outbreaks in early Egypt

This nondescript tomb (center) may be the location
where the first historical evidence of a zombie attack
was discovered. (Courtesy of the Hierakonpolis Expedition)

Hierakonpolis is a site famous for its many "firsts," so many, in fact, it is not easy to keep track of them all. So we are grateful(?) to Max Brooks for bringing to our attention that the site can also claim the title to the earliest recorded zombie attack in history. In his magisterial tome, The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), he informs us that in 1892, a British dig at Hierakonpolis unearthed a nondescript tomb containing a partially decomposed body, whose brain had been infected with the virus (Solanum) that turns people into zombies. In addition, thousands of scratch marks adorned every surface of the tomb, as if the corpse had tried to claw its way out! [Editor's note: click here for an interview with Max Brooks and a timeline of archaeologically documented zombie outbreaks.]

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