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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Ancient Egyptian Tomb Found With Dozens of Mummies

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient tomb containing dozens of mummies at a site in the south east of Egypt. Cut into rock and hidden behind a stone wall, the tomb contained the bodies of both adults and children stored across multiple burial chambers.
As well as human remains, Egyptian and Italian researchers found artifacts including vases, coffin fragments, intricately decorated masks, cartonnages and a statuette, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities reported Tuesday.

The main room of the tomb contained about 30 mummies, including the remains of several young children tucked into a recess on one side of the chamber.
Archaeologists also found tools of the funerary trade in the room, including a mummy-transporting stretcher made from palm wood and pieces of linen, several jars of bitumen, a lamp and a painted statuette of the “Ba-bird”: a part-bird, part-human figurine depicting the “soul of the deceased,” the Egyptian ministry explained.  
The room was also home to several painted and unpainted cartonnages and partial funerary masks. Similar to papier-mâché, ancient Egyptians made funerary masks and cartonnages from layers of papyrus and plaster. They painted these decorative items with bold, colorful designs.
The researchers found more mummies elsewhere in the tomb, two of whom were concealed in a painted cartonnage. Archaeologists think these could be the bodies of a mother and a child. The team also found four other mummies in a structure containing several jars still holding food.
Fragments of painted wood from coffins indicated the tomb belonged to someone called Tjit, who lived around the end of the time of the Pharaohs and the start of the Graeco-Roman period (332 B.C.E-395 C.E.). Painted wooden coffin fragments revealed the name of the owner and honored certain gods, the Ministry reported.
The tomb is located near the Mausoleum of Aga Khan on the Aswan West Bank, an area home to dozens of gravesites. The Egyptian-Italian mission has mapped about 300 tombs, 25 of which have been excavated over the last four years, lead archaeologist Patrizia Piacentini said in a statement.
Egypt has been keen to share news of recent archaeological discoveries in an effort to entice visitors back to the country in the wake of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and subsequent political unrest.
Recent announcements have included the discovery of a palace dedicated to Ramesses the Great, several intricately-decorated sarcophagi and a massive haul of about 800 tombs at a large grave site to the south of Cairo.

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