So far, researchers have uncovered 765 graves, including the remains of 124 individuals that date to between 18 weeks and 45 weeks after conception.

The excellent preservation let researchers date the age of the remains at death.

“Even though this was a Christian community, we know that they were still practicing, or having these social beliefs of, fertility being at its highest in the months of July and August,” Williams said.


“This was a very strong aspect of social beliefs of fertility,” she said.

“The Nile is the gift to Egypt — without it, there’s really no way that this civilisation could have survived through 3,000 years of history.” These patterns of conceptions and births would have likely continued back further into ancient times and occurred at other Egyptian sites as well, said Williams.

Sexual prohibitions While the summer was prime time for ancient Egyptian baby-making, the period around January seems to have been a low point, when conception fell to 20 per cent below the site’s annual average.

The baby dip was likely due to the new religion, Christianity, which in ancient times called for prohibitions on sex during certain periods, such as during Advent and Lent.

Researchers made this discovery at a cemetery in the Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt whose burials date back around 1,800 years.