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It's funny.  Laugh. Science

Evidence of Historical Zombie Attack at Hierakonpolis 244

Posted by Zonk
from the where's-a-good-pub-when-you-need-one dept.
sertsa writes "A tongue-in-cheek article just published by the Archaeological Institute of America hypothesizes that the formation of ancient Egypt is linked to recurrent Predynastic zombie attacks due to outbreaks of Solanum virus. 'From the very beginning of Predynastic research, Sir W.M. Flinders Petrie reported several headless, but seemingly intact, burials during his famous excavations at Naqada in 1895. Further excavations at Gerzeh and other sites revealed more of these curious burials, but no satisfactory explanation could be proposed at the time. More recently, excavations in the non-elite cemetery at Hierakonpolis (HK43), undertaken from 1996 to 2004, have uncovered more of these strange headless burials in addition to 21 individuals whose cervical vertebrae bear cut marks indicative of complete decapitation. The individuals include men and women ranging in age from 16 to 65. The number and the standard position of the cut marks (usually on the second-fourth cervical vertebrae; always from the front) indicate an effort far greater than that needed simply to cause the death of a normal (uninfected) person. The standard position also indicates these are not injuries sustained during normal warfare.'"
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Evidence of Historical Zombie Attack at Hierakonpolis

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  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:32PM (#21288093) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that the scientist incorrectly classified these as zombie attacks.

    Everyone with an ounce of scientific training can tell that these were actually attacks by ninja pirates, and that the vampire zombies were defending the inhabitants.
    • No no no, let's be logical here. It's much more likely that some idiot ruler just was afraid of zombies so he had every dead person's head cut off...by Anubis jackals with sickles like in Age of Mythology.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2007 @10:07PM (#21289567)

      Everyone with an ounce of scientific training can tell that these were actually attacks by ninja pirates, and that the vampire zombies were defending the inhabitants.
      "Ninja pirates" is an oxymoron. Ninjas and pirates mix like oil and water. Pirates are holy creatures [wellingtongrey.net]. Ninjas are devil spawn [wikipedia.org]. Pirates like water (except for bathing). Ninjas are landlubbers. Pirates say 'arr matey.' Ninjas don't say a single Goddamn thing. They are nothing alike! You could try sewing (or bolting) two together but they would soon kill each other--the pirate killing the ninja with his stench and the ninja killing the pirate with throwing stars.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Gideon Fubar (833343)
        so in order to create a Pirate Ninja, you'd have to make them breed while vibrating in a vacuum [future.org.au], something that both pirates and ninjas should be able to survive, for at least 2 minutes (or 10, if the pirate's name is Guybrush).

        Making them agree to the proposition might be difficult, unless the Ninja is a hot kunoichi and the pirate is played by Johnny Depp...
      • by kalirion (728907)
        Yes, a Ninja Pirate would make about as much sense as Scarran-Secabean hybrid [wikipedia.org] or something. Or maybe even a half-Shinigami half-Hollow [wikipedia.org]. Totally ridiculous.
    • Finally, valid scientific evidence surfaces! The plague is spreading. Hurry over to IfYouWereAZombie.com [ifyouwereazombie.com] to tell your loved ones how you feel before they become a walking corpse. Because once they're a zombie, it's too late to say you care...
    • by ZzzzSleep (606571)
      No, I think it was zombie pirates. Like this one here [flickr.com].
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:35PM (#21288131)
    It reminds me of a classic The Onion story about evidence of a race of a skeletons found all over the world. I'm sure creationist would see evidence of a race of skeletons being proof that evolution was false since there is no way a race of skeletons could evolve.
  • Stop taking part in intrigue campaings for the next VideoGame/Movie/Book/TVSeries

    Also, no inside jokes from scientists. After Gary Larson, none of that is allowed anymore.

    Mod me as you like!
  • hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:36PM (#21288149) Homepage
    I don't know why everyone hates on zombies. I mean, zombies were people too.
    • Re:hmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:40PM (#21288197) Journal
      Isn't it obvious!?

      Anyone with half a brain, well...
      is probably being attacked by a zombie.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I hate zombies because they use phrases like "The number and the standard position of the cut marks (usually on the second-fourth cervical vertebrae; always from the front) indicate an effort far greater than that needed simply to cause the death of a normal (uninfected) person."

      I mean, normal people don't talk like that.
    • I don't know why everyone hates on zombies. I mean, zombies were people too.
      What makes you think we hate corporate workers and civil servants??
      • by geekoid (135745)
        You know, I wrote 350 lines of code today, had a 4 hour meeting where we busted chops to get some programs improved, and this afternoon I get to review the results from Point to point testing.

        As a civil servant, I'm supposed to be doing nothing! just ask anybody.

        Yes I know someone will point out I'm on slashdot, but I do get a lunch period.
  • Proof? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew.gmail@com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:40PM (#21288191) Homepage Journal
    We all know that zombies tend to gravitate towards malls, or high school proms and such. If they found headless remains outside a prehistoric shopping mall, then I'd be convinced.
  • this is a underground campaign for World War Z the Movie?
    • I'm really surprised that there are so many joke comments to this, and not more posts where people are upset that this is passing for news at /.
    • by Dynamoo (527749) *
      Funny, those were my thoughts too.. not much at the IMDB [imdb.com] apart from JMS [wikipedia.org] writing the script.

      *That*, incidentally, is surely going to be one hell of an expensive film. Most zombie movies are pretty cheap to make, but World War Z is basically an entire future history made up of awesomely expensive-to-make sequences. I won't give too much away in case there are some /.ers who haven't read the book!

  • Lurch post (Score:5, Funny)

    by Harmonious Botch (921977) * on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:41PM (#21288209) Homepage Journal
    This lends new meaning to the phrase "walk like an Egyptian"
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Was a mass distribution scrolls that promised a nude painting of Cleopatra, but was merely a tax bill infected with a virus.
  • by Aaron Denney (123626) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @07:58PM (#21288391) Homepage
    Hey, I bet this could also explain the heavy use of the guillotine during the French revolution.
    • by Boronx (228853)
      You got to love a front page post on Slashdot making light of mass executions.
  • welcome our new zombie underlings! . . . I feel kinda dirty now.
  • Huh?... (Score:2, Informative)

    by schmu_20mol (806069)
    Well, just to get this somewhat straight. Solanum is a 'large' organism of a plant/vine/small tree, so we are basically talking about your run of the mill tomatoes and potatoes here (yes, I already hear those zombie biologists heaving stones towards me). So, the next question is what the solanum virus would be ... fiction, just have a look at 'The Zombie Survival Guide' by Max Brooks. I think I'll just have to get me some strong liquor and reread that story again ... kind of, hilarious.
    • by Khyber (864651)
      Considering the next closest relative of a tomato or potato is the poisonous nightshade plant (another Solanacae,) I'd well wager the 'virus' was actually a dose of Solanacae poisoning, throwing those affected into a delirious state, making them act zombified, which prompted people to kill them off.

      Hey, it's plausible.
  • TFA is hilarious (Score:5, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @09:40PM (#21289339) Homepage
    If you enjoy understated, dry humor, go read the article. It's wonderful.

    "While it is an attractive idea, no serious archaeologist would hang their fedora on it without further evidence." Sure; every serious archaeologist wears an Indiana Jones hat, goes without saying.

    "Overall, those with cut marks represent less than 4% of the cemetery's population. Thus, one might suggest that the threat of zombification was relatively low, and those manifesting the disease were dealt with swiftly (though in some cemeteries evidence for cannibalism has also been found suggesting that one or two got a good meal first)." It goes on to suggest that the need for swift anti-zombie action may have led to the early invention of government by kings.

    If zombies re-emerge as a threat in modern times: "Almost certainly the first sign of infection will come from the Hierakonpolis team. [...] The unfortunate side effect of the infection starting within this specialized group of researchers is that they are generally the least squeamish about decapitation duty. I know for a fact that Sean Dougherty, a physical anthropologist with extensive experience at the site, wouldn't hesitate to lop off the head of any member of the team at any time, and for any reason."

    Go read it!

    http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/hierakonpolis/zombies.html [archaeology.org]

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @11:35PM (#21290233)
    "So I saw the fictitious Solanum virus in the missing brain of a headless mummy." Said the blind man to his deaf daughter standing in the corner of the round hut.
  • by solanum (80810) on Friday November 09, 2007 @12:41AM (#21290711)
    Cheeky sods.

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