Ca­chette ceme­tery of non-royal mum­mies newly dis­cov­ered in El-Minya

We be­lieve that this ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site still has a lot of un­re­vealed se­crets and crypts that we aim to dis­cover, El-Anany said

The Daily News Egypt - - Art & Culture - By Nada Deyaa’

Thou­sands of years af­ter their era has come to end, Pharaohs’ legacy still em­braces peo­ple’s minds with new dis­cov­er­ies. The Min­istry of An­tiq­ui­ties an­nounced dis­cov­er­ing a ceme­tery that dates back to the Late Pe­riod, with 17 mum­mies buried in Al-Minya, Up­per Egypt.

In a press con­fer­ence held by the Min­is­ter of An­tiq­ui­ties Khaled El-Anany on Satur­day, in the town where the dis­cov­ery was made, in Tuna El-Gebel, El-Anany stated that the dis­cov­ery saw the light on the hands of a mis­sion team from Cairo Uni­ver­sity that started last year un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the Min­istry of An­tiq­ui­ties.

El-Anany stated that “these shafts led to a num­ber of cor­ri­dors in­side a ca­chette of mum­mies.” He also as­sured that the dis­cov­ery is only the be­gin­ning of the dig­ging process to find the rest of the ceme­tery, adding, “we be­lieve that this ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site still has a lot of un­re­vealed se­crets and crypts that we aim to dis­cover.”

“We found cat­a­combs con­tain­ing a num­ber of mum­mies,” said Salah El-Kholi, a Cairo Uni­ver­sity Egyp­tol­ogy pro­fes­sor and the head of the team.The mum­mies are re­ported to be non-royal, as El-Kholi de­scribed them. He added that the necrop­o­lis is “the first hu­man necrop­o­lis found in cen­tral Egypt with so many mum­mies.”

The mum­mies were found buried eight me­tres be­neath the ground along­side a num­ber of sar­cophagi, where two of them are an­thro­poid coffins carved in clay while the oth­ers are made of stone.

El-Anany ex­plained the im­por­tance of the dis­cov­ery as it is the first find to be un­cov­ered in the area since the ex­ca­va­tion of the an­i­mals and birds necrop­o­lis made by Dr. Sami Gabra from 1931 to 1954.

The story of the dis­cov­ery be­gan a year ago when the mis­sion car­ried out a radar sur­vey in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Fac­ulty of Sci­ence at Cairo Uni­ver­sity on the area lo­cated east of the an­i­mals and birds necrop­o­lis at Tuna Al Gabal ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site, El-Kholi added, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of An­tiq­ui­ties’ of­fi­cial Face­book page.

Buried aside the mum­mies, two pa­pyruses were found writ­ten in De­motic, with a gold sheet which to be trans­ferred to the Grand Egyp­tian Mu­seum for restora­tion be­fore they are dis­played to pub­lic.

At their ex­ca­va­tion process, the team found a num­ber of Ro­man fu­ner­ary houses carved in clay, in which they also found a col­lec­tion of dif­fer­ent coins, lamps, and other do­mes­tic col­lec­tion un­earthed.

The press con­fer­ence was at­tended by im­por­tant fig­ures, in­clud­ing the gover­nor of Minya, ma­jor gen­eral Es­sam El-Bedewi; head of Cairo Uni­ver­sity, Dr.Gaber Nas­sar; dean of Fac­ulty of Ar­chae­ol­ogy at Cairo Uni­ver­sity, Mo­hammed Hamza; dean of Fac­ulty of Sci­ence, Cairo Uni­ver­sity; as well as a num­ber of top of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of An­tiq­ui­ties, am­bas­sadors to Egypt, and sev­eral mem­bers of par­lia­ment.

In his talk, El-Anany as­sured that this im­por­tant dis­cov­ery to be added to sev­eral es­sen­tial dis­cov­er­ies the Pharaohs left their grand­chil­dren, in­clud­ing the dis­cov­ery of the Ram­ses II statue, which was ear­lier in March, as well as Dra’Abu el-Naga’ necrop­o­lis on Luxor’s west bank, where an Egyp­tian mis­sion from the Min­istry of An­tiq­ui­ties stum­bled upon an al­most in­tact fu­ner­ary col­lec­tion of User­hat,the chan­cel­lor ofThebes dur­ing the 18th Dy­nasty.

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