2019 seems to have kicked off quite excitingly for archaeologists exploring the mysteries of ancient Egypt.
According to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, a joint mission from the Ministry of Antiquities and the Research Centre for Archaeological Studies of Menia University has stumbled upon a collection of Ptolemaic burial chambers engraved in rock and filled with a large number of mummies of different sizes and genders.
According to the first hypotheses, the tomb belongs to either the Hellenistic period or Ptolemaic period (305-30 BC).
The mummies, of which twelve belong to children, have been found in four chambers excavated nine meters deep in the necropolis of Tuna El-Gebel.
According to Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the tombs were cut out of rock, and most likely belonged to a middle-class family.
“The grave that we are talking about here has a well that is almost nine meters deep, leading to four chambers underground holding a great number of mummies — over 50 mummies,” Waziri explained.
Dr. Waziri explained that ostraca and fragments of papyri were unearthed in the grave which helped reveal the date of the ancient tomb.
Waziri further explained that there were a number of lingering questions about the origins of the mummies, but it was clear from the method of mummification that the occupants of the tomb held prestigious, important jobs in ancient Egypt.
“This discovery has something special, namely that it even survived the Byzantine era,” Waziri said.
Archaeologists have reported that some of the mummies inside the tomb were found wrapped in linen, while others were buried inside of tone and wooden sarcophagi.
Dr.Wagdi Ramadan, Head of the archaeological mission pointed out that the mission started its work for the first time in Tuna El-Gebel in February 2018 when it discovered a tomb engraved in rock composed of a corridor leading to sloping stairs that opened to a rectangular chamber with a number of burials.