The El-Asasef necropolis is the burial site of nobles and senior officials of the pharaohs. Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

Last Saturday (24 November 2018) in Luxor, Southern Egypt, Egyptian authorities unveiled the well-preserved mummy of a woman inside a previously unopened coffin dating back more than 3,000 years. This was a unique occasion as it was the first time that the authorities had opened a previously unopened sarcophagus in the presence of international media.

luxor
The first opening of the coffin containing a well-preserved mummy of a woman dating back more than 3,000 years. Credit: Mohamed abd el Ghany/Reuters

The sarcophagus was one of two found earlier in the month by a French-led mission in the northern area of El-Asasef, a necropolis on the western bank of the Nile. The first coffin had been opened earlier and examined by Egyptian antiquities officials.

“One sarcophagus dates back to the 17th dynasty while the other was from the 18th dynasty” said Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al Anani. The 18th dynasty dates back to the 13th century BC, a period noted for some of the best-known pharaohs, including Tutankhamen and Ramses II.

The previously sealed sarcophagus was opened in the presence of international media.
Credit: Mohamed abd el Ghany/Reuters
The two sarcophagi were found at the El-Asasef necropolis on the west bank of the Nile. Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

Earlier on the same day, and in the same area, the Egyptian authorities also revealed the tomb of the overseer of the mummification shrine identified as Thaw-Irkhet-if. It had taken archaeologists five months to remove three hundred metres of rubble in order to uncover the tomb.

Interior of the tomb with ceiling paintings. Credit: Mohamed abd el Ghany/Reuters

When opened, the tomb was found to contain coloured ceiling paintings depicting the owner and his family. In addition to mummies, skeletons and skulls, the tomb contained five coloured masks and around 1,000 Ushabti statutes – the miniature figures of servants buried in tombs to serve the dead in the afterlife. The tomb dates back to the middle-kingdom almost 4,000 years ago, but had clearly been re-used during a later period.

The El-Asasef necropolis is the burial site of nobles and senior officials of the pharaohs. Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

Since the political uprising in 2011 and subsequent unrest, visitors and travel companies have shunned the country. During 2018 Egypt has revealed over a dozen ancient discoveries. The Egyptian authorities hope that these discoveries will renew interest abroad and attract back the thousands of visitors who once flocked to its iconic pharaonic temples and pyramids.

Source The Daily Telegraph

Placed by Alun Harvey

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