Archaeologists working in the southern Egyptian city of Aswan have uncovered a 2,000-year-old tomb from the Greco-Roman period, complete with 35 mummies!
Located on the Aswan West Bank near the Mausoleum of the Aga Khan, the rock-cut tomb belongs to an individual by the name of Tjt and dates from the Graeco-Roman Period. The tomb contains a stunning 35 mummies.
The tomb was discovered by a joint Egyptian-Italian archaeological mission during a process of mapping tombs in the area, with artefacts recovered from the site including statuettes, vases, decorated masks, coffin fragments and cartonnages.
It is likely to be the mummies that raise the most interest however, archaeologists finding four in a small chamber before making the discovery of 31 further mummies in a second main chamber that would have been used for funerary practices. Artefacts here including vases and a complete wood and linen stretcher. Several children were amongst the bodies with one pair of remains believed to be a mother and child. The remains are said to be in varying condition.
The tomb consists of a stair, flanked by sculpted blocks leading into the funerary chambers, the entrance being closed by a stone wall. Inside the tomb, the team found parts of a painted wooden coffin, amphorae, offering vases, coffin fragments and another coffin placed directly into the floor.
The main chamber contains 31 bodies, with some placed into wall niches. By the north wall was an original stretcher which would have been used by those depositing the bodies, the stretcher being composed of palm wood and linen. Also inside the main chamber were vessels containing bitumen for use in the mummification process, white cartonnage ready for painting and even a lamp.
“It’s a very important discovery because we added something to the history of Aswan that was missing. We knew about tombs and necropoli dating back to the second and third millennium, but we didn’t know where the people who lived in the last part of the Pharaoh era were. Aswan, on the southern border of Egypt, was also a very important trading city”Patrizia Piacentini, professor of Egyptology and leader of the mission
The bodies will now be removed from the tomb to be studied by an anatomopathologist before being returned.
The discovery marks yet another important discovery in Egypt’s ongoing efforts to highlight the rich cultural and historic legacy of the nation, efforts designed to bring back lost tourism into the country. Other recent finds include the lost Palace of Ramesses, statues, more tombs and much more.
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