Huge number of tombs and mummies found in Egypt

Archaeologists excavating in the city of Lahoun in the Fayoum oasis (the same area where the hoard of Ptolemaic coins was found Painted wooden sarcophaguslast month) have uncovered an underground labyrinth containing 57 tombs from different periods, 45 of them complete with coffins, sarcophagus and mummies inside. (NB: The ABC News story erroneously reports the total number of tombs as 45, but it gives the best overview so I decided to link to it anyway.)

The breadth of this find is astonishing. There were 12 wooden sarcophagi stacked inside an 18th dynasty (1550 to 1292 B.C.) tomb, each of them still containing mummies. The sarcophagi are made out of cartonnage, layered plaster and papyrus that forms a hard covering for a body or face mask, and richly decorated with incantations from the Book of the Dead and scenes of the deities.

But the most surprising finds upend what archaeologists knew previously about the site:

2nd dynasty tomb with house coffin and funereal furnitureBut the most significant findings were 14 tombs, all from the second dynasty. [Lead archaeologist Abdel Rahman] El-Aydi explained to ABC News that one of the tombs was found intact inside. “We found a coffin of the deceased, a wooden coffin of the type known as a house coffin, because it has the shape of the palace or house facade of this period.”

Inside this coffin the deceased was placed in a twisted position and covered in huge amounts of linen, not rags, because in that dynasty ancient Egyptians had no knowledge of the mummification process, El-Aydi said.

Other coffins were found placed in the southwest corner of this one tomb, and on the floor toward the east side was funeral furniture, consisting of huge cylindrical alabaster jars, a wooden headrest and a polished wooden offering table.

Before this find, archaeologists believed the site dated to the reign of 12th dynasty King Senwosret, but the 2nd dynasty tombs are a full thousand years older than that, from around 2750 B.C.

The team will continue excavating, cataloging and recording the site until June, then will move the finds to museums and storage facilities.

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7 Comments »

Comment by Elicia
2010-09-02 14:06:13

:boogie: This is AMAZING! i love learning about this. Mummies have always atracted my intrest!

Comment by livius drusus
2010-09-02 14:28:18

They are fascinating. The Mummy with Boris Karloff was the first horror movie I remember watching.

 
 
Comment by Anna Ruggeri
2010-09-02 14:08:05

Its such an interesting subject.
The fact that the Egyptians had the mental ability to think of such a thing like mummification.

Comment by livius drusus
2010-09-02 14:31:40

Well, I’m sure ancient Egyptians had the same intellectual abilities we do. They weren’t another species of human, after all. Also, when you live in a desert environment, you’re going to encounter natural mummification. It’s not a big leap to go from that to figuring out how to intentionally mummify.

 
 
Comment by Anonymous
2010-11-09 11:00:55

i love this stuff :boogie:

 
Comment by peeyush jain
2011-07-15 06:24:41

Its such an interesting subject.
The fact that the Egyptians had the mental ability to think of such a thing like mummification.

 
Comment by peeyush jain
2011-07-15 06:25:29

nice yar.

 
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