Archive for November, 2018

Last looted apostle mosaic returned to Cyprus

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

A 6th century mosaic of St. Mark torn from the walls of Panagia Kanakaria church in northern Cyprus in the wake of the 1974 Turkish invasion has been repatriated. The monastery church, originally built in the 5th century, was renown for its early Byzantine mosaics depicting Jesus, Mary and the apostles. They were extremely rare, stylistically unique and some of the most important early Christian art in the world by virtue of having survived the Iconoclastic orgy of destruction during the 8th and 9th centuries.

In the late 1970s, they were plundered and sold in pieces to unscrupulous dealers who sold them all over the world to equally unscrupulous buyers. With a great deal of work by heritage organizations, police and committed individuals, almost all of the mosaics have been found in the decades since the brutalization of Panagia Kanakaria. Most recently, the medallion of the apostle St. Andrew was repatriated this April after four years of negotiation with a recalcitrant owner. It was the 11th of the 12 stolen apostle mosaics to be located and returned to Cyprus, leaving only St. Mark still on the lam.

Arthur Brand, who runs a firm that specializes in the recovery of looted artworks and stars in a Dutch TV program called The Art Detective which follows his cases, joined the hunt for the Mark mosaic three years ago. With the support of the Church of Cyprus and the Cypriot government, he was able to follow the trail thanks to tips from informants and his own detecting skill. Finally Brand found St. Mark in Monaco.

“It was in the possession of a British family, who bought the mosaic in good faith more than four decades ago,” Mr Brand said.

“They were horrified when they found out that it was in fact a priceless art treasure,” Mr Brand said.[…]

The family agreed to return it “to the people of Cyprus” in return for a small fee to cover restoration and storage costs, he added.

Arthur Brand recovered the mosaic from Monaco last week. On Friday, November 16th, he formally returned it to the Embassy of Cyprus in The Hague, The Netherlands. On Sunday, November 18th, St. Mark was home. That leaves only one piece of the Panagia Kanakaria mosaics still missing: the feet of Christ. Brand is on it.

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Very fine Leda and swan fresco found in Pompeii

Monday, November 19th, 2018

If it seems like the excavation of Pompeii’s Regio V is generating international headlines once a month, that’s because it is. The last discovery is a beautiful fresco depicting the mythological interspecies impregnation of Leda by Zeus in the guise of a swan. It was found on the wall of a cubiculum (bedroom) during stabilization work on buildings fronting the Via del Vesuvio. The bedroom is near a corridor where a fresco of Priapus weighing his phallus was found last summer.

The fresco is likely inspired by a famous Greek statue by the 4th century B.C. sculptor Timotheus depicting Leda, artfully draped so as to be basically naked without technically being naked, protecting her god/swan lover from an eagle swooping down on him. While the statues have Leda standing and she’s languidly seated in the fresco, the combination of the gossamer fabric “covering” one breast and the heavier folds caught between her thighs is characteristic of Timotheus’ style.

In the newly-discovered fresco, the swan in on her lap facing her, his swimsuit area very clearly positioned directly against hers. Leda looks directly out at the viewer with a sensual, alluring gaze. The mythological motif is used to create erotically stimulating decor for the bed chamber where, as Massimo Osanna, Director of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, charmingly puts it in an interview with ANSA, “in addition to sleep, there could be other activites.”

Sex sells is a cliche for a reason, as Greek mythology has born out for centuries, and Timotheus’ cygnal sex scene was extremely popular. More than two dozen Roman copies of the sculpture are extant, and variants have been found in everything from frescoes to silver reliefs at Roman sites around the Bay of Naples.

The scene – full of sensuality – depicts the union of Jupiter, transformed into a swan, and Leda, wife of King Tyndareus. From her embraces, first with Jupiter and then Tyndareus, would be born the twins Castor and Pollux from an egg (the Dioscuri), Helen – the future wife of King Menelaus of Sparta and cause of the Trojan War – and Clytemnestra, later bride (and assassin) of King Agamemnon of Argos and brother to Menelaus.

At Pompeii the episode of Jupiter and Leda enjoyed a certain measure of popularity, as evidenced in various domus, with varied iconography (the lady is generally depicted as standing, not seated as in the new fresco, and in certain cases she is not depicted in the moment of intercourse). Among the varied depictions we have are those in the Houses of the Citharode, of Venus in the Shell, of Queen Margherita, of Meleager, of the Coloured Capitals or Ariadne, of the Ancient Hunt, of Fabius Rufus, of the Fontana d’Amore, and perhaps also in the Houses of L. Rapinasius Optatus and of the Golden Cupids.

For the structure’s own security, there will be no further excavation of the domus, which means we aren’t likely to discover anything about its owner beyond his extremely expensive taste in art. There is discussion right now of how best to preserve the two exceptionally high-quality frescoes that have been discovered — Leda and Priapus — and it may even require removal. This drastic measure used to be done all the time but is a very rare choice now that archaeology is no dedicated to treasure hunting for the benefit of benefactors and institutions. Experts will study the frescoes in situ and determine if an emergency salvage is necessary.

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More than 100 funerary bundles found in Bolivia

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

The remains of more than 100 individuals and grave goods have been discovered in a quarry near the modern-day town of Viacha, Bolivia, 18 miles southwest of La Paz. Archaeological material was first found at the site by miners three months ago. They reported it to the authorities and Bolivian government archaeologists began official excavations.

They first encountered two tombs in an underground necropolis carved into the limestone. One chamber contained about 108 funerary bundles. It had been looted and the human remains had suffered significant deterioration, but many grave goods still remained. A small circular hole just 27.5 inches in diameter opened to a chimney nine feet deep. When archaeologists lowered themselves down, they discovered another two tombs, these intact and unlooted.

There were wood and pottery artifacts in the tombs, and more than 150 pieces of bronze jewelry — necklaces, bracelets, brooches, women’s hair ornaments and two rare u-shaped headbands worn by nobility. Also in the tomb with the bundles were 30 intact pottery vessels of a type used by the Inca for burial rites. Some of the skulls are elongated, evidence of intentional cranial deformation, a common practice in the Americas (and world-wide) that was often a signifier of high social status. The skulls and diverse artifacts indicate people on different rungs of the social ladder were all buried together in the communal graves.

The burials date to around 1100-1200 A.D. in the period after the decline of the Tiwanaku Empire which had been the dominant polity in western Bolivia between 600 and 1000. They belonged to the Pacajes people, part of the Aymara kingdom which spread over the Andean highlands of western Bolivia, southern Peru and northern Chile from at least 1200. The area was conquered by the Inca during the reign of Huayna Capac (1493–1524) who expanded the empire to its greatest extent before dying of the smallpox the Spanish brought to America.

Little is known about when the Inca conquered the Aymara and exactly what the power dynamics were. It’s believed the Aymara had some level of autonomy. The discovery of Inca pottery in the Pacajes tombs is therefore of major historical significance as it is a unique find that attests to the blending of cultural practices after the Inca take-over in the 15th century.

The remains, especially the soft tissues, quickly began to deteriorate further when exposed to microorganisms, humidity and saline air, so archaeologist have removed the contents of the tombs to an archaeological center where they will be studied and conserved in controlled conditions. At this point, the remains and artifacts have not yet been declared national patrimony which means the local municipality of Viacha bears the responsibility of finding a permanent place for them that will provide the conditions for their preservation.

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Enthroned Zeus returns home to Baiae

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

A statue of Zeus that was part of the ill-gotten antiquities in the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum has returned to its place of origin, the Archaeological Park of Campi Flegrei at the Castle of Baiae on the Gulf of Naples. The museum acquired the statue in 1992 under the tenure of Marion True who would later be tried for her long history of buying looting antiquities from shady dealers. The Getty bought it from Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, wealthy private collectors who had a $60 million collection of antiquities. They got this statue and many, many others like it from infamous loot dealer, perjurer and cheater Robin Symes.

The lack of export paperwork or ownership history was no deterrent to these acquisitions, and the Getty only agreed to return the statue in 2017, five years after a missing piece of it was found by local archaeologists in the ancient resort town of Baiae, modern-day Bacoli. The statue was repatriated in June 2017 and put on display at the National Archeological Museum in Naples. In late October it was loaned to Archaeological Park of Campi Flegrei so it could take part in a new exhibition of artworks that once adorned the villas of the rich and powerful at Baiae and environs.

Fresco of Zeus enthroned inspired by Pheidias sculpture, Casa dei Dioscuri, Pompeii. National Archeological Museum of Naples.Zeus Enthroned is a 29-inch-high marble statue dating to the 1st century B.C. and is likely of Greek manufacture. It was inspired by the colossal gold and ivory statue of the god at the temple of Zeus at Olympia made by sculptor Pheidias in 430 B.C. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. First century orator and philosopher Dio Chrysostom wrote about it in glowing terms in his Olympic Discourse:

For verily even the irrational brute creation would be so struck with awe if they could catch merely a glimpse of yonder statue, not only the bulls which are being continually led to the altar, so that they would willingly submit themselves to the priests who perform the rites of sacrifice, if so they would be giving some pleasure to the god, but eagles too, and horses and lions, so that they would subdue their untamed and savage spirits and preserve perfect quiet, delighted by the vision; and of men, whoever is sore distressed in soul, having in the course of his life drained the cup of many misfortunes and griefs, nor ever winning sweet sleep — even this man, methinks, if he stood before this image, would forget all the terrors and hardships that fall to our human lot.

The temple of Zeus was abandoned in the 4th century when emperor Theodosius I banned the Olympic games and all the religious rituals attendant to them in 393 A.D. It’s known when the statue was destroyed.

By then, Pheidias’ masterpiece had been considered the pinnacle of Classical Greek sculpture for 700 years and it was widely copied in the Greco-Roman world. A fresco of Zeus enthroned holding a statue of Nike (Victory), a scepter with an eagle by his side a fresco was found in the Casa dei Dioscuri in Pompeii and is now in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. A statue 11 feet high created in the 1st century A.D. and discovered at the villa of Emperor Domitian (now at the Hermitage Museum) meticulously copied the original, using marble, gilded wood and stucco to capture the beauty of the chryselephantine technique.

The Zeus Enthroned sits on a throne, a high-backed one, and rests his feet on a stool. His right arm is raised high, his left by his side. His raised hand likely held a high scepter and his left a thunderbolt. If it precisely matched the Pheidias statue, however, the left hand would have held a statuette of the goddess of Victory. The attributes are long missing as is the right hand so it’s hard to know what he carried.

Evidence of marine life is rife on the right side of the statue and its condition is far more deteriorated there than on the left side. The statue was likely resting on its left side in the sand of the seabed. The sand protected it from the elements. Before then, it was probably part of a home shrine in one of the elegant country villas that were so popular among the wealthy of the late Roman Republic.

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Ice Age art found under modern graffiti

Friday, November 16th, 2018

University of Tübingen archaeologists have discovered Ice Age art hidden under graffiti in two caves near Rully, eastern France. Created at least 12,000 years ago, the two works depict a horse and a prehistoric deer. They used stone tools to carve the deer into the cave wall. The horse was drawn with a black paint.

The research team has been studying caves in southern Burgundy, an area where Neanderthals and modern humans are believed to have lived at the same time, for more than two decades. There are a significant number of Paleolithic sites at Rully but cave art had never been found before in 150 years of paleological exploration. The sheer frequency of prehistoric sites suggested there was cave art to be found, however, so the Tübingen researchers kept looking. They hit paydirt in the Grottes d’Agneux, thanks to technology and special expertise.

The researchers worked with an expert on prehistoric cave art, Juan Ruiz of the University of Cuenca in Spain. They analyzed the cave walls using modern scanning techniques. Because the images had been covered with later graffiti from the 16th to 19th centuries, the archaeologists used special image-processing computer programs to reconstruct the original works underneath the other layers. They also compiled many individual photos into a photogrammetric documentation of the works in order to give them a more three-dimensional look.

Using carbon-14 dating methods, the archaeologists were able to date charcoal found in the cave – and the creation of the art – as far back as 12,000 years ago – to the Upper Palaeolithic period. This method measures how much time has passed by the radioactive decay of the 14C isotope originally present in the ancient wood. French authorities inspected the cave art and confirmed its legitimate interest in mid-2018; further research is planned.


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Another piece of Antikythera Mechanism found?

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

The Antikythera Mechanism, the oldest analog computer in the world, was a mind-bogglingly intricate mechanism of interlocked gears which could calculate the date of eclipses, Olympic games, positions of astronomical bodies and more. Found fused in a lump that looked like a rock with some bronze flecks in it, years would pass before researchers understood that the lump was actually 87 parts of a mechanical computer corroded together. When all the pieces were puzzled together, they were found to total up to around 50% of the original device.

The mechanism was found in 1901 at the site of a 1st century B.C. shipwreck off the coast of the island of Antikythera. It didn’t stand out at the time because in the year since the wreck had been discovered, divers had collected an astonishing number and quality of marble and bronze art works, jewelry, glassware and other artifacts, likely destined for the Roman market. They ranged widely in date. The mechanism dates to the second half of the 2nd century B.C., so it could have been as much as a 100 years old when it was loaded onto the doomed ship.

Between the passage of time, the action of salt, currents, traffic, earthquakes etc., the remains of the wreck scattered and decayed. The flashiest, most obviously finds were collected in 1900-1901. In 1976, Jacques Cousteau and his crew spent two days diving the site. And that was it until 2012 when divers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities used the latest technology to survey the wreck site. Because of the wreck’s dangerous position 200 feet under the surface of the Aegean at the bottom of a steep slope, the Return to Antikythera project is the first scientific study of the site since it was discovered by sponge divers in 1900.

The 2017 expedition picked up where the team left off in 2016, the trench where the partial human skeletal was found. Other ship gear was discovered there in 2016 — lead pipes, counterweights, tools — as well as many pottery fragments from different types of vessels. Several significant finds were recovered the next year, including a bronze arm from a life-sized statue and a marble leg on a plinth, believed to have been part of a male nude.

Among the smaller pieces and fragments was a disc thick with corrosion products and concretions. The tell-tale green of corroded metal was visible through the rock-like encrustations. The disc is about three inches in diameter and has four short protrusions at each of the corners. The object was X-rayed and holes were found in the protrusions. The X-ray also revealed a bull engraved on the surface.

Further study is needed to identify it as one of the missing pieces of the Antikythera Mechanism. All we know for sure right now is that it was mounted on something, hence the little arms with pinholes, but it could have been a decorative mount for furniture, for example. If it was part of a geared mechanism, it doesn’t follow that it was THE mechanism discovered in 1901. There’s a chance there could have been a similar device on board. The ship was absolutely heaving with very high-end goods. However that is a very slim chance indeed because nothing even remotely like the Antikythera Mechanism has been found before or since. Mechanisms of comparable complexity wouldn’t appear again until the Middle Ages.

Based on the evidence so far, it looks exactly like other parts of the Mechanism, which had clearly been found incomplete. Based on the etching of the bull that can be seen with scanning, it may well be the gear that predicted the position of the zodiac constellation of Taurus.

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Three stolen Moundville artifacts recovered

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

It’s been almost 40 years since thieves broke into the Erskine Ramsey Archaeological Repository at the Moundville Archaeological Site near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and made off with 264 Native American artifacts, a fifth of the total number of artifacts excavated at the site and an agonizing 70% of the museum-quality pieces. Clay vessels exemplifying eight centuries of Mississippian artistry and craftsmanship were gone without a trace.

Thirty-eight years passed. Not a single one of hundreds of stolen objects was found in all that time. An FBI investigation turned up nothing and ended in the late 1980s. This May, a private organization of archaeologists and other donors decided to heat up this long-cold case by offering a reward for information leading to the recovery of any of the stolen artifacts. The Associates for the Return of Moundville Artifacts ultimately raised enough money for a $25,000 reward and established a confidential tip line (still active at 205-348-2800) for would-be informants to call. Nobody expected it to work.

It worked. Less than three months after the reward was announced, three clay pottery vessels stolen from the Erskine Ramsey Archaeological Repository in 1980 were returned to the Moundville Archaeological Park.

“We were all thinking we’d go to our graves without anything turning up from this burglary,” said Jim Knight, curator emeritus of American Archaeology for the Alabama Museum of Natural History at UA, at a press conference held to announce the find Monday. “This is one of the most exciting things that has happened during my archaeological career.” […]

“I didn’t have a whole lot of hope for actual recovery,” said John Abbott, director of Museum Research and Collections for the Alabama Museum of Natural History. “In fact, I was stunned when there were some that turned up.”

As the investigation is ongoing, authorities are not commenting on the how and why of the vessels’ recovery. All they’ll say is that nobody has claimed the $25,000 reward.

The pots were made for ceremonial use and are in impeccable condition. Whatever adventures they’ve experienced over the past four decades have not damaged them in any way. There are no chips, fractures or scratches. The original museum marks are still on them.

All three vessels depict religiously significant iconography. One features a skull, skeletal forearms and hands with crosses inside. Two are incised with images of a winged serpent, a combination creature like a sphinx or chimera with the tail of a rattlesnake, the antlers of a deer and bird wings. In the Mississippian culture at Moundville, the snake god was the lord of the underworld.

Bill Bomar, executive director for University of Alabama Museums, noted the advances in research into iconography, symbols and art that have taken place since the theft nearly four decades ago. UA faculty and students will also be able to study whether the vessels originated or were traded here.

“All of this has advanced in the last 40 years, and we haven’t had these artifacts to do those kinds of studies on,” he said. “Hopefully with these, and any additional ones that are recovered, our information about Moundville is going to increase greatly.”

The pieces will go on display at Moundville Archaeological Park shortly.

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Chariot race intaglio gem found in Turkey

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

A Roman intaglio gemstone depicting a rare chariot racing scene has been discovered near Demre in the Antalya Province of southwestern Turkey. Archaeologists discovered the piece in an excavation of the ancient Greek town of Myra, one of the leading cities of the Lycian league in the 1st century B.C. Just one centimeter in diameter, the red Jasper stone is engraved with tiny detailed scenes of horse racing in a stadium. The work is of unusual high quality for the area, the epitome of craftsmanship available in Lycia when it was made 1,800 years ago.

A team from Akdeniz University has been excavating Myra for nine seasons in a row. This season’s exploration of a Roman-era necropolis unearthed a number of graves with significant funerary artifacts. The gemstone, originally part of a ring, was found in one of those graves.

The engraving depicts quadrigas, chariots drawn by four horses, racing in a hippodrome complete with monuments. The chariots race in the bottom half of the stone, while the top half is engraved with the architecture of the hippodrome itself. The two sections are divided by a horizontal bar representing the spina, the strip down the center of a circus which during the empire was adorned with elaborate architecture — columns, obelisks, monumental water basins or fountains, statues, lap counters, even whole temples.

[Akdeniz University archaeology professor Nevzat] Çevik said the finding was an unprecedented one, with a ring depicting a horse race scene being seen for the first time in excavations at the Lycian Union site. “We have never seen such a thing before. This ring stone is the culmination of a fine art. It is not just a random figure but it is the whole scene fitted in a one-centimeter stone. This is really fascinating,” he added.

Çevik said the ring’s stone was found among many pieces in the grave. “We think that the ring’s stone belongs to a high-status figure from what is called Demre today. It most probably belonged to a jockey or a racehorse raiser, because there are figures of horses on it.”

There is visible wear and tear around the entire oval of the gemstone that has resulted in loss of some of the details of the quadrigas and stadium architecture. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore has a very similar piece that is just a hair larger and in impeccable condition so you can get a sense of what the Myra intaglio looked like before the wear on the edges. It too features a quadriga race in a hippodrome engraved on red Jasper. There is no find spot recorded (it was acquired in 1942 when “Roman Empire” was deemed sufficient information) but the Walters’ intaglio dates to around the same time, 2nd-4th century.

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Oldest known footprints in Grand Canyon found

Monday, November 12th, 2018


A set of 28 tiny footprints have been found on a boulder in the Grand Canyon. They were left by a reptile-like animal 310 million years ago, making them the oldest known footprints ever discovered at the Grand Canyon National Park. They are among the oldest tracks discovered on earth, period, impressed on the rock when the supercontinent Pangaea was still in the process of forming.

They were found in spring of 2016 by a paleontologist and a group of students who were hiking up the the Bright Angel Trail. The boulder had been part of a cliff above the trail. When the cliff collapsed, the boulder fell onto the trail and cracked open. It broke apart along an inner seam revealing a naturally molded trackway more than three feet long.

The paleontologist alerted park officials and his friend and colleague University of Nevada, Las Vegas geologist Steve Rowland. Park crews moved the rock to the side of the trail where Rowland first checked it out a year later. In March of this year, he returned with San Diego State University geologist Mario Caputo to study the footprints in more depth.

“My first impression was that it looked very bizarre because of the sideways motion,” Rowland said. “It appeared that two animals were walking side-by-side. But you wouldn’t expect two lizard-like animals to be walking side-by-side. It didn’t make any sense.”

When he arrived home, he made detailed drawings and began hypothesizing about the “peculiar, line-dancing gait” left behind by the creature.

“One reason I’ve proposed is that the animal was walking in a very strong wind, and the wind was blowing it sideways,” he said.

Another possibility is that the slope was too steep, and the animal sidestepped as it climbed the sand dune. Or, Rowland said, the animal was fighting with another creature, or engaged in a mating ritual.

Caputo and Rowland continue to study the trackway and hope to learn more about the animal. Caputo is focusing on the sandstone itself in the hopes of discovering the topography of the sand dune that captured the prints and became a boulder. It’s possible the rock will have indications of whether it was the crest of a dune or a valley between them, information that would be key to understanding the reptile’s gait.

It’s also possible that the creature who left the tracks is a previously undiscovered reptilian species. At this time, the tracks cannot be identified as belonging to a specific animal.

The boulder is still on the trail. Rowland, who will publish the find in January 2019, hopes the trackway will be removed to the protection of the geology museum at the Grand Canyon National Park where it will be kept safe from the elements and predatory humans as well as be easily accessible to researchers.

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Cat, cobra, scarab mummies found in Saqqara

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

More than 200 mummies of cats and another 200-plus mummies of scarabs have been discovered in tombs at the King Userkaf pyramid complex in the necropolis of Saqqara. An Egyptian archaeological mission has been excavating the site at the stony edge of the pyramid since April of this year and has unearthed three New Kingdom and four Old Kingdom tombs. The New Kingdom tombs had been reused in the Late Period as a burial ground for the plethora of cats and scarabs and for several cobras and alligators as well.

The eastern area of the site was previously excavated by a French archaeological mission and they too found Old and New Kingdom tombs with the latter having been recycled in the Late Period to inter cat mummies. That excavation project ended in 2008 and never reached the ramp area. The earlier discoveries spurred this year’s team. The prospect of discovering Old Kingdom tombs is what drew the team to excavate that area around the ramp of the Userkaf pyramid complex, as the location had a high probability of having been used during the Old Kingdom as a prestigious site for the tombs of important individuals.

Indeed, the four tombs found belonged to elite people. Decorated stone reliefs and the remains of false doors were discovered in the tomb of Ankh Mahur, an Old Kingdom vizier. The names of two women were found carved on other false doors: Subek Sekt and Mafy. The most archaeologically significant of the four was the tomb of Khufu-Imhat, overseer of buildings in the royal palace. Khufu-Imhat’s tomb dates to the late Fifth Dynasty (2,500-2,350 B.C.). It is so important because it is still sealed, its false doors intact. The team do plan to open it in the future and hope to find undisturbed contents.

The scarab mummies in the New Kingdom tombs are the first to be discovered at Saqqara. Two large specimens were found inside a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with a vaulted lid. Three scarabs were painted in black on the lid. They were wrapped in linen and are in excellent condition. A second, smaller limestone sarcophagus decorated with a single scarab painted in black on the side was found to contain hundreds of scarab mummies.

The cat mummies were linen-wrapped, some of them with surviving paint depicting the features of the cats. Small painted wood sarcophagi decorated with coiled cobras on the lid contained cobra mummies, and crocodile-shaped sarcophagi contained, you guessed it, crocodiles. In the tombs with the animal mummies archaeologists also unearthed more than 100 gilded wood statues of cats and a bronze one of the cat goddess Bastet. Other gilded wood statues found include a lion, cow and a falcon.

The tombs were filled with soil and debris. More than 12,000 cubic feet of soil had to be removed and sifted through. The mission painstakingly unearthed about 1,000 faience amulets depicting many of the deities in the traditional Egyptian pantheon — Horus, Isis, Anubis, the Apis bull — plus icons like the Udjat eye, the white and red crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, and the Wadjat column. Also found in the fill were three alabaster canopic jars, ink pots, pens and papyri written in Demotic and Heretic. Other archaeological treasures include a collection of papyrus baskets and ropes in exceptional condition, 30 clay pots and, inside a wood sarcophagus, an alabaster head rest and bronze jars.

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