Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


17 February 2014

Intact 3600 year old Egyptian sarcophagus among new discoveries

Past Horizons, 16-02-2014

Intact 3600 year old Egyptian sarcophagus among new discoveries

Researchers and archaeologists working on the Djehuty Project, led by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), have discovered four noble burials from the 17th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt at the northern end of the necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, near Luxor (ancient Thebes), this includes the intact sarcophagus of a man named Neb, who lived around 1600 BCE. The discovery, during the 12th season of archaeological excavations will shed light on a little-known historical period in which Thebes became the capital of a kingdom that heralded the dominance of Egypt over Palestine and Syria to the north, and Nubia to the south. The project was led by CSIC researcher José Manuel Galán, Institute of Languages ​​and Cultures of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. His team included 16 Spanish and four other foreign specialists.

Neb’s body was found in a burial chamber carved over 1.5 metres deep into the bedrock. The wooden sarcophagus was in remarkable condition, with bright colours and decoration. The bricked-up entrance led the archaeologists to believe that it had never been looted since the coffin had been laid in the tomb. Inside this small rock chamber lay the anthropomorphic carved wooden casket decorated in the characteristic style of the seventeenth dynasty, called “rishi” (which means “beautiful” in Arabic). “The coffin is painted on the upper surface with a pair of extended wings over the body of the deceased, as if a winged goddess embraced him from behind, thus giving protection in the afterlife,” explains Galán. “This style of coffin is rare because it was in use for only a short period of time when Egypt was not unified. Thus, very few have been found in their original place and have been well documented in the archaeological context, ” the researcher concluded. An inscription that runs from the chest to the foot of the coffin lid directs an invocation offering to a man named Neb. His mummy remains inside and is apparently in good condition.

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