Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus

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Kahun papyrus

The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus (also Kahun Papyrus, Kahun Medical Papyrus, or UC 32057) is the oldest known medical text of any kind. Dated to about 1800 BCE, it deals with women's health—gynaecological diseases, fertility, pregnancy, contraception, etc.

It was found at El-Lahun (Faiyum, Egypt) by Flinders Petrie in 1889[1] and first translated by F. Ll. Griffith in 1893 and published in The Petrie Papyri: Hieratic Papyri from Kahun and Gurob. It is kept at the University College London. The later Berlin Papyrus and the Ramesseum Papyrus IV cover much of the same ground, often giving identical prescriptions.[2]

The text is divided into thirty-four sections, each section dealing with a specific problem and containing diagnosis and treatment; no prognosis is suggested. Treatments are non-surgical, comprising applying medicines to the affected body part or swallowing them. The womb is at times seen as the source of complaints manifesting themselves in other body parts.[3]

See also[edit]


  • Michael Worton, Nana Wilson-Tagoe, National Healths: Gender, Sexuality and Health in a Cross-Cultural Context, Routledge Cavendish 2004
  • Ann Rosalie David, The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt: A Modern Investigation of Pharaoh's Workforce, Routledge 1996
  • Michael J. O'Dowd, Elliot Philipp, The History of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Informa Health Care 2000, p.43
  • Laurinda S. Dixon, Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine, Cornell University Press 1995

Footnotes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Worton & Wilson, op.cit., p.192
  2. ^ David, op.cit., p.124
  3. ^ Dixon, op.cit., pp.15f.

External links[edit]