Ancient Egyptian grain-based pregnancy test found to be 70% accurate by archaeologists

The earliest recorded pregnancy test has been found by archaeologists examining ancient Egyptian medical training documents using barley and wheat grains/seeds. The test dates from around 1350 B.C.E. Archaeologists found a hieroglyphic document that when translated described how to find out whether someone is pregnant. The woman who thinks she may be pregnant urinates on wheat and barley whole grains/seeds.

The ancient papyrus translated something like, “If the barley seeds sprout or grow, it means a male child will be born. If the wheat sprouts and thrives, it means a female child will arrive in a few months. If the barley and wheat grains never sprout and grow when a woman urinates on the grain seeds, the woman is not pregnant and therefore, will not give birth this time around. That part of the test that’s 70% accurate is when either type of grains actually sprout and thrive when urinated upon by a pregnant woman, even in the earliest stages of pregnancy.

Archaeologists actually tested the ancient Egyptian medicinal folklore in 1963. They had pregnant women do the test and found it to be 70 percent accurate. The reason why the ancient Egyptian and probably Sumerian test works is because the urine of pregnant women contains a high level of estrogen and progesterone, especially the estrogen that may help the grains to sprout.

Barley and wheat grains were a staple of the ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Persian, and further back in time, even Neolithic diets throughout the grain belt–the Middle East and certain Mediterranean areas in ancient times. It might have existed back in Neolithic times when agriculture began and people experimented to see what might make barley and wheat grains sprout.

Although the test won’t really predict a baby’s gender, the 70 percent accuracy rate is awe inspiring. Seems the grains sprouted when the pregnant women urinated on the seeds, but not when anyone else urinated on them who was not pregnant at the time.

Perhaps there was a shortage of water and fertile soil at the dawn of grain agriculture. What the test measured that predicted pregnancy had been the rise of hormones that help certain types of grains/edible seeds to sprout. If you’re looking for modern pregnancy test information by a healthcare professional on how to take one, there’s a video on uTube: Family Health: Using a Home Pregnancy Test.

Photo credits: Check out the immersive archaeology site at Aura Lily has been using Second Life to recreate the artifacts and architecture of ancient Egypt. Using maps drawn by one of Napoleon’s artist engineers, she’s also working on an accurate recreation of temples and buildings on the island of Philae. Aura’s work is simply amazing, and I think the educational potential to use Second Life as an immersive way to explore ancient architecture and culture is limitless. She has no formal training in 3d modeling, yet she has a true passion for this ancient era and has done all of this work completely on her own. Simply incredible. Visit her amazing space in Second Life and experience it firsthand.