Wednesday, March 04, 2009

‘Royal granddaughter’s tomb’ found near Cairo

Times Online

Archaeologists have unearthed the 3,000-year-old tomb of an Egyptian noblewoman in the necropolis of Saqqara, south of Cairo. The Japanese team believes that the tomb belongs to Isisnofret, granddaughter of Ramses II, the 19th Dynasty pharaoh who reigned over Egypt from 1304BC to 1237BC.

The tomb contained a broken limestone sarcophagus bearing the name of Isisnofret, three mummies and fragments of funerary objects.

The archaeologists’ team leader, Sakuji Yoshimura, said that the find was made near the tomb of Prince Khaemwaset, a son of Ramses II.


The tomb and sarcophagus of Isisnofret were discovered in a rocky outcrop near the Serapeum, a Pharoahnic burial place for sacred bulls at the Saqqara site, Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement posted on his Web site today. Three human bodies and fragments of funerary items were also discovered, according to the statement.

Most of the upper part of the tomb is missing and only the foundations of the burial site remain intact, Sakuji Yoshimura, head of the Japanese mission from Waseda University, said in the statement.

The limestone sarcophagus of Isisnofret inside the tomb is in poor condition yet still boasts some of the original inscriptions painted in a brilliant blue. The title of noblewoman was rare in ancient Egypt and it’s possible that Isisnofret is the daughter of Prince Khaemwaset, a son of Ramses II, Yoshimura said. The prince’s tomb lies nearby.

Earth Times

SCA general secretary Zahi Hawass said the tomb structure itself consists of a pylon and a colonnaded courtyard leading to an antechamber with four pillars, and terminating in three cult chapels and the base of a small pyramid.

Its plan was typical for a freestanding tomb-chapel of the New Kingdom, particularly the Rameside Period, Hawwas added.

Sakuji Yoshimura, head of the Japanese mission, said that unlike other Memphite tomb chapels of the period which were normally aligned east-west, the newly discovered monument was aligned north-south. Most of the upper portion of the structure was missing, with only foundations and some of the flooring remaining.

Google / AFP

The tomb contained a broken limestone sarcophagus bearing the name of Isisnofret and the title "noble woman", three mummies and fragments of funerary objects, the department said in a statement.

Isisnofret's last resting place is in an area of Saqqara where a team from Waseda University were excavating the tomb of Prince Khaemwaset, a son of Ramses II, it quoted Japanese team leader Sakuji Yoshimura as saying.

"Prince Khaemwaset had a daughter named Isisnofret (and) because of the proximity of the newly discovered tomb to that of the prince, it is possible that the owner of the sarcophagus is the daughter of Khaemwaset," he said.

However, Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawass told AFP he believes the tomb dates from the 18th dynasty instead of the 19th, because of the style of construction.

Hawass also dismissed the "similarities in the names" saying that there were many women called Isisnofret in ancient Egypt.

See the above pages for more. According to the news feed picked up by my Google Reader service Zahi Hawass's own website is supposed to have an update, with photos, but the site is down at the moment. You may want to check it later today for more information.

1 comment:

Fred said...

Finally, I would like for everyone to know that the cameras inserted into the boreholes at the base of the Sphinx did not reveal any evidence at all of hidden passages or secret chambers. There is no reason to believe that such structures exist, and I hope that this will help lay to rest speculation about lost civilizations and aliens at Giza.

Hawass lost his brains??

grt fred,from holland