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Latest Major Discoveries in Egypt : July 2018 Egyptian Archaeological Discoveries
Latest Major discoveries Egypt: I can highlight two major discoveries that have been made in Egypt this month of July 2018. One has a lot of ink flowing about it: it is the sarcophagus of black granite from Alexandria. And the other one, a much more interesting one in fact: the discovery of a workshop of mummification at Saqqara with rooms, sarcophagi, artifacts.
We will start with the latest major discovery that makes the buzz in an exaggerated way. I wonder why this sarcophagus has capture so much attention? Though most of the discovered stone sarcophagi in Egypt are sealed and intact, and are more impressive, bigger and sophisticated than the one found in Alexandria.
Also as I told previously, five intact and sealed stone sarcophagi were found in Saqqara necropolis, along with a mummification workshop past week, and are obviously much more important ! I think just the world ” black “ about Alexandria discovery made the buzz ! Now you can see my previous video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uwBvh3Smvk&t=3s and now the latest one in English : https://youtu.be/G6vGzwdjnCU and I will explain everything in English in this article.
Measures of the black granite sarcophagus not so impressive
The sarcophagus was discovered in Sidi Gabr neighbourhood which is located in the Eastern part of Alexandria. It is one of the tombs of the Eastern cemetery in Ancient Alexandria. It is known that foreigners who were living in Alexandria at that time used to be buried in this cemetery especially the Greeks and Macedonians living during the Ptolemaic era (332–30 BC) … The date of the sarcophagus has not yet been determined but early inspection suggests that it dates to the Ptolemaic era(332–30 BC).
‘’Most probably this cemetery dates back to the second half of the Ptolemaic period, where the phenomenon of cremation was widespread according to Greek rites at the beginning. Then it was replaced with burial without mummification or mummification according to Egyptian rites, such as those that spread during Queen Cleopatra’s reign, the last Ptolemaic queen” (Egyptian Director of the excavations)
The three mummies were found unburned inside the coffin, which indicates that the cemetery dates back to 30 BC. Its measurements are: 2.65 m long (whereas the old sarcophagi of Sakkara serapeum are 6m long), 1.86 m in height (while those of Sakkara are 3.30 in height), it weighs 30 tons (whereas those of Sakkara 80 tonnes) and was found 5 m deep in the Sidi Gaber area of Alexandria.
So three decomposed mummies were found in the sarcophagus. None of the three mummies belong to a Ptolemaic or Roman royal family. And the coffin does not have inscriptions or a cartouche bearing their names or even any artefacts, masks, amulets etc…One of the found skulls shows multiple fractures, revealing that it has been hit by a sharp instrument and that it belongs to a warrior. The other two skulls are intact and belong to men and they will be subject to rays to identify their ages and face shapes.
Liquid was found inside the sarcophagus
The red liquid was found to be sewage water that leaked inside the coffin through a crack in its eastern side, causing the decomposition of the mummies.
In the same context, Alexandria Governor Mohamed Sultan told that the three mummies will be moved to the Alexandria National Museum to be study. While the coffin will be transferred to the Military Museum located at the military northern region.
Nothing to do with Alexander the Great tomb
The allegations that claim that this sarcophagus has a strong relationship with the tomb of Alexander the Great are all wrong. Because we know by documents that Alexander the Great was buried in Alexandria in a royal cemetery known as Soma or Sema. This place is located in the royal neighbourhood in the center of old Alexandria. This neighbourhood was completely destroyed during the third and fourth centuries as a result of the outbreak of revolutions and wars carried out by the people of Alexandria against Roman emperors.
And at that time Christianity became the official religion in Egypt. As a result many ancient pagan monuments were destroyed in the late fourth century.
My point of view
My point of view is the same as I told before the opening of this sarcophagus of Alexandria. it does not offer much interest for someone who sees many every day and everywhere in Egypt like me. And I was already certain that it would contain nothing, or bodies put inside much later, to use this empty content. Because it is quite often seen in Egypt …That is why the sealed sarcophagi found at Saqqara last week are much more interesting. Because much older and with a lot of artefacts and rooms around and found much deeper in the earth.
II Fabulous major Discoveries in Sakkara
South of the pyramid of Ounas, it was found by the Egyptians and the University of Tübingen: a mummification workshop. And a collection of 35 mummies, 4 sealed sarcophagi and a silver mummy mask. This mask is covered with oxidized earth and with onyx eyes and inlays in calcite and obsidian. It has also a wig studded with precious stones. Then there are many rooms, many artifacts…Look at my video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu1ZBIb67fA
The mask found at 30 m depth is the property of the 2nd priest of Mout which was named Niut-Shahes. And measures 23 cm by 18.5 cm. These priests lived at the time of the 26 th dynasty. And 1500 ushebtis have been found in one of the two wells which is 30 meters deep.
We are only at the beginning of the discoveries! And one sees well, here, that it is by far the most interesting discovery of these past months of 2018.
Indeed these objects are pharaonic, they are much older than the discovery made in Alexandria. Archaeologists found these artefacts at a much greater depth (30 m against 5 m in Alexandria). And there are 4 sarcophagi to open (there was only one in Alexandria). Of course I will inform you about next news about both discoveries, follow this blog and its newsletter.
News reported by Antoine Gigal
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This post is also available in: French