Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Tomb of the Palace Official

Third part of an account about various Egyptological discoveries, by Zahi Hawass:
"A few years ago, a Czech expedition headed by Egyptologist Miroslav Verner discovered a tomb that had not been touched by man for over 2,500 years. The tomb, which belonged to palace official Iufaa, was discovered in Abu Sir, a site located between the Giza pyramids and Saqqara and contains over 11 pyramids called the forgotten pyramids. The tomb dates from the so-called Saite period—the period of the 26th dynasty.
The tomb was found in a 30-meter deep shaft and its ceiling was in very poor condition. Verner and I agreed that we should build a dome above the tomb for protection. The dome, made of concrete, took one year to complete and was a miniature version of the dome built in Abu Simbel that was covered with sand to give it a natural look and to which the [Great] Temple of Ramesses II was later relocated. Verner visited my office in the area of the pyramids and told me that they had found an intact tomb that had never been touched by a human being. He asked me to join him in revealing the tomb. We found approximately 408 ushabti figurines (also called answerers) that ancient Egyptians placed beside the tomb to answer questions and serve the deceased in the afterlife, (hence we found a specific figurine for every day of the year and there were also 35 statues representing the supervisors of the ushabti figurines and were supposed to oversee the ushabti and ensure that they performed their duties, as well as eight chiefs for each statue.) The pleasant surprise was the 60-tonne limestone sarcophagus that was found in good condition in the middle of the tomb. When I examined the sarcophagus, I found that it had been sealed since the body was buried inside it."
See the above page for the full story.

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