Egypt: Reconstruction shows ‘unrivalled grandeur’ of tomb
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The grisly remains were found at Oxyrhynchus (Al-Bahnasa) nearly 100 miles south of the capital by a team of researchers from the University of Barcelona. The Spanish archaeologists reported the discovery of two separate tombs containing the remains of a couple buried in limestone sarcophagi. According to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the discoveries have been dated to the Saite Dynasty around 525 BC – Egypt’s so-called Late Period (664 to 332 BC).
One of the tombs appears to have been open since antiquity, suggesting it had been plundered by grave robbers, but the archaeologists still found an ornate sarcophagus inside.
The stone coffin was fashioned into the shape of a woman and had its lid displaced.
Inside, the expedition discovered a stone headrest amulet and numerous beads.
The second tomb was found sealed and held the remains of a man buried in a male-shaped sarcophagus.
Alongside the body, the archaeologists found numerous amulets, papyurus stems, scarabs, beads and feathers.
Among the priceless artefacts was a figure of the falcon-headed god Horus, whose left eye was said to be the Sun and his right eye was the Moon.
The archaeologists also recovered more than 400 Ushabti figurines made out of faience, a type of glazed ceramic bead.
But even more intriguing was the discovery of a set of “tongues” fashioned out of gold leaf foil.
Egyptian ‘mega-tomb’ uncovered in Saqqara region of Cairo
One of the gold tongues can still be seen poking out of the man’s exceptionally well-preserved skull.
It is believed the dead were given these unusual items so that they could speak in the afterlife when facing the god Osiris.
In ancient Egyptian mythology, Osiris was murdered by his brother Seth but was resurrected by his wife Isis, after which he descended into the underworld to rule over the afterlife.
According to lead researchers, Maite Mascort and Esther Pons, the newest discoveries will help scientists better understand the funerary rights observed during the Saite Dynasty.
Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities wrote in a translated Facebook post: “Mr Jamal al-Samastawi, Director General of Central Egypt Antiquities, said that the Spanish mission has been working in the Bahnasa archaeological area for nearly thirty years, during which it found many tombs dating back to the Sawi, Greco-Roman and Coptic eras.
“Pointing out that the Al-Bahnasa region was famous for its papyri written in Greek, which were published in dozens of volumes at Oxford University, as it was part of the nineteenth region of Upper Egypt and had great fame in the Coptic and Islamic eras.”
Earlier this year, an expedition at the ancient city of Taposiris Magna reported the discovery of a mummy with a similar golden tongue.
Taposiris Magna is known as the “great tomb of Osiris” and the mummy was found among 16 burial chambers.
In one of the tombs, a woman was buried with a death mask covering much of her body.
The remains likely date to the Ptolemaic Period between 305 to 30BC.
And three years ago, the world was stunned by the discovery of a huge black sarcophagus filled with a stomach-churning red liquid.
The gruesome find inspired an online petition for people to be allowed to drink the ancient “juice” so that people could “assume its powers and finally die”.
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