CACHE OF 16 HUMAN RIGHT HANDS
FOUND AT EGYPTIAN THRONE ROOM
Two of the pits are situated at the front of an ancient throne room thought to have belonged to a Hyksos ruler named Seuserenre Khyan, and contain a hand apiece.
"Each pit represents a ceremony," explains archaeologist and Egyptologist Manfred Bietak, who led the excavation. Bietak's team believes the remaining fourteen hands were buried some time later, in two pits located in the palace's outer grounds.
According to Bietak, the 3600-year-old hands are the first physical evidence of a practice referenced in Egyptian writing and art, wherein the right hand of a bested enemy would be severed from the rest of the body.
Reasons for dismemberment were manifold. For one thing, it made counting victims easier, and severed hands could also be exchanged for gold.
But it also robbed an enemy of his strength; in cutting off an opponent's hand, "you deprive him of his power eternally," Bietak explains.
No left hands were among the grisly cache of severed appendages.