Roman Egypt is the only part of the ancient world where documentary evidence for the age composition of the general population has survived. Pertinent information is provided by extant census returns from the first three centuries of Roman rule. Gathered every fourteen years, these documents list the members of individual households with their names, familial status, and ages. Knowledge of the age distribution enables us to track mortality rates and infer average life expectancy, which is a critical measure of overall well-being. This article discusses mortality patterns, causes of death, and disease and physical well-being.
This article begins with an overview of the history of excavations and exploration at Tuna el-Gebel. It then discusses the site of Tuna el-Gebel; the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel before Roman rule; the development of the urban structure in the early Roman period; the tombs of the second and third centuries