8 Egyptian sarcophagi with well-preserved mummies unearthed south of Cairo
Twenty-five miles south of Cairo, an archaeological project that began in August recently unearthed eight newly found limestone sarcophagi, each containing its own mummy, according to Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The mummies were located in the pyramid of King Amenhotep II, in the Dahshur royal necropolis, where courtiers and high-ranking officials were once buried, and they date back to Egypt’s Late Period (664 to 332 BC), Egypt’s Antiquities Minister said.
Each sarcophagus had an outer “cartonage,” a layer of papyrus or linen coated in plaster, which was ornately painted in bright blue and deep ochre, depicting a human motif. The mummies, too, were incredibly well-preserved.
Photos of the discovery will be displayed in two soon-to-be-established museums by the Ministry of Antiquities in Sharm El-Shekh and Hurghada.
This year alone, the Ministry has announced over one-dozen ancient discoveries under Minister Khaled el Anani with his mission to “protect and preserve Egypt’s heritage,” beginning in 2016.
The eight-mummy-discovery comes on the heels of another mummy find just days prior, last month, near Luxor, which included two brightly painted wooden sarcophagi containing the remains of a priest and his wife. Along with these were several other mummies, and over 1,000 ushabti statues, which were believed to be of use to the deceased in the afterlife.
The find was part of the tomb of Thaw InkhetIf, located in between the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, and dates back to the period known as the 18th Dynasty, from around 1550 BC to 1300 BC.
In early September, a sphinx was also unearthed from an ancient temple in southern Egypt, a find that Dr. Waziri believes to be from Egypt’s Ptolemaic Period (305 BC to 30 BC). Prior to this, yet another sphinx, this one being 4,000 years old, was discovered while construction workers were fixing the road in Luxor.
Sphinxes, which have a human head and a lion’s body, are typically found guarding the entrances of ancient Egyptian temples.
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