Friday, April 30, 2010

Graeco-Roman tombs, an intact coffin, Ptolemaic coins and whale bones

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

This month has proved very fruitful for the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). Three of its excavation missions, in Isamilia, Bahariya Oasis and Fayoum have all uncovered distinguished Roman treasures that reveal more about the fabric of this significant era in Egyptian history.

An SCA archaeological team working in the area of Tel Al-Maskhouta in Ismailia found the 19th-Dynasty mud-brick tomb of the overseer of royal records, Ken-Amun. Nearby they found 35 Roman tombs and an ancient limestone stela dating from the reign of an unidentified 19th-Dynasty Pharaoh.

"It is a very important discovery for ancient Egyptian history," Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the SCA, told Al-Ahram Weekly. The tomb consists of a rectangular room with a domed stone ceiling and a deep squared shaft. The walls are decorated with scenes depicting the tomb owner in various positions with his family and before the gods, as well as the titles of the deceased and the name of his wife, Isis, who was, it is written, a singer to the god Atum. Some of the decorations are in sunken relief and show religious and funerary scenes. The most interesting are the ones that display mourning women and the lines of Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead that concerns the questioning of the deceased. A depiction of the goddess Hathor in the shape of a cow emerging from the Nile Delta marshes, and the four sons of the god Horus, are also visible. Inside the shaft the team found a large limestone sarcophagus of the tomb owner engraved with inscriptions on its inner and outer surfaces.

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