Ancient Egyptian tombs discovered


This video says about itself:

9 December 2017

Archaeologists in Egypt have displayed items, including a mummy, from one of two previously unexplored tombs in the ancient Nile city of Luxor.

The mummy is believed to be that of a senior official from Egypt’s “New Kingdom”, about 3,500 years ago.

Other items included figurines, wooden masks and richly colored wall paintings.

The tombs lie in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis, an area famed for its temples and burial grounds.

It is close to the Valley of the Kings where many of ancient Egypt’s pharaohs were buried.

Egypt’s antiquities ministry said that the tombs had been discovered by a German archaeologist in the 1990s, but were kept sealed until recently.

The identity of the mummified body is not known but the ministry says there are two possibilities.

It could be a person named Djehuty Mes, whose name is engraved on one of the walls, or it could be a scribe called Maati whose name – and the name of his wife, Mehi – are written on funerary cones, officials said.

The other tomb was only recently “uncovered” and has not yet been fully excavated, the ministry said.

In September, archaeologists discovered the tomb of a royal goldsmith near Luxor.

The tomb, which also dated back to the New Kingdom, contained a statue of the goldsmith Amenemhat, sitting beside his wife.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Egyptian mummy and ancient treasures ‘in near perfect condition’ discovered in 3,500-year-old tombs

Findings believed to date back to 18th dynasty, in what experts are calling ‘the discovery of the year’

Edmund Bower

Draa Abou Naga, Egypt

The Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities announced on Saturday the discovery of two ancient tombs at the necropolis of Draa Abou Naga, part of the Unesco World Heritage site of Thebes, near the Nile city of Luxor.

The occupants of the private tombs are as of yet unknown but believed by the ministry to date back to the 18th dynasty (1550BC to 1292BC). It’s the latest find of a series of discoveries in Draa Abou Naga, and Egypt in general, after the minister Khaled Alnani announced at the beginning of 2017 that it would be “a year of discoveries”.

The two tombs, seven and ten metres deep respectively, were found to contain a number of artefacts, including 40 funerary cones, 36 Usahbti statues, and funerary furniture, some of which was gold plated.

Of particular interest is a large painted wall, which has survived almost intact. “It’s really beautiful,” said famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, “and typical 18th dynasty. It looks like it was painted yesterday. In my opinion, this could be the best painted wall discovered in Draa Abou Naga in the last 100 years.”

Also discovered were a number of mummies, skeletons, and a large painted statue of a woman named Isis Nefret – believed to be the mother of the tomb’s occupant – in the form of the Ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife, Osiris. “It’s in near perfect condition,” said Mr Alnani.

Mostafa Waziry, who is leading the excavation, said he believes the find to be related to one that was announced three months ago. Less than 100 metres from the site his team announced the discovery of another important tomb, which Mr Hawass described then as “the discovery of the year”. It contained a goldsmith named Amenemhat who lived 3,500 years ago, along with a host of other mummies and artefacts. It also included evidence that a man called “Marty” was buried there, although his body was never discovered. Speaking of one of the bodies found in the most recent tomb, Mr Waziry said: “I believe this is Marty.”

With his “year of discoveries” coming to an end, Mr Alnani said that the results have been “exceptional”. Other notable finds this year include a Roman-era mass grave near the Upper Egyptian town of Minya, a previously unknown pyramid at the Dahshur necropolis, and an eight-metre tall statue of King Psamtek I found in a suburb of East Cairo.

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Ancient Pharaoh Tutankhamun, new research


This 2017 video is called Tutankhamun Tomb – Incredible Story of Egyptian Pharaoh – Documentary.

From the University of Tübingen in Germany:

New treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb

November 16, 2017

As part of a German-Egyptian project, archaeologists from Tübingen for the first time examine embossed gold applications from the sensational find of 1922. The motifs indicate surprising links between the Levant and the Egypt of the pharaohs.

Researchers from Tübingen working on a German-Egyptian project have examined embossed gold applications from the treasure of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun for the first time. The objects come from the famed find made by English archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922. Until now, they had been held in storage at the Egyptian Museum Cairo. They can be seen at a special exhibition at the museum which began on Wednesday. Conservators and archaeologists of the Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES, Professor Peter Pfälzner), the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo, (DAI, Professor Stephan Seidlmayer), and the Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz (RGZM, Professor Falko Daim), as well as the Egyptian Museum have spent four years (2013-2017) analysing the find.

Through painstaking hours in the lab, the partners restored the objects at the Egyptian Museum. They also made drawings of the items and did comprehensive research on them. A team of conservators, Egyptologists and specialists in Near Eastern archaeology found the embossed gold applications in the same crate they were placed in by Howard Carter’s team immediately after their discovery. At the time, the artefacts were photographed and packed, unrestored, and were never again removed until this project.

During years of detail work, conservators Christian Eckmann and Katja Broschat of the Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum Mainz reassembled the fragments to produce 100 nearly complete embossed gold applications. They suspect the items are decorative fittings for bow cases, quivers and bridles. IANES archaeologists from Tübingen examined the images on the embossed gold applications and categorized them from an art-historical perspective. In her dissertation, doctoral candidate Julia Bertsch succeeded in distinguishing the Egyptian motifs on the embossed gold applications from those that could be ascribed to an “international,” Middle Eastern canon of motifs.

Among these are images of fighting animals and goats at the tree of life that are foreign to Egyptian art and must have come to Egypt from the Levant. “Presumably these motifs, which were once developed in Mesopotamia, made their way to the Mediterranean region and Egypt via Syria,” explains Peter Pfälzner. “This again shows the great role that ancient Syria played in the dissemination of culture during the Bronze Age.”

Interestingly, he adds, similar embossed gold applications with thematically comparable images were found in a tomb in the Syrian royal city of Qatna. There, the team of archaeologists from Tübingen led by Pfälzner, discovered a pristine king’s grave in 2002. It dates back to the time of around 1340 B.C., so it is just a bit older than Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt. The archaeologist says, “This remarkable aspect provided the impetus for our project on the Egyptian finds.” Now,” says Pfälzner, “we need to solve the riddle of how the foreign motifs on the embossed gold applications came to be adopted in Egypt.” The professor says that here, chemical analyses have been illuminating. “The results showed that the embossed gold applications with Egyptian motifs and the others with foreign motifs were made of gold of differing compositions,” he says. “That does not necessarily mean the pieces were imported. It may be that various local workshops were responsible for producing objects in various styles — and that one used Near Eastern models.”

After the current initial exhibition of these objects in Cairo, they will be on display in future in the new Grand Egyptian Museum close to the pyramids at Gizeh. Now, almost a century after they were discovered, and thanks to the work of archaeologists from Tübingen and Egyptologists and conservators from Mainz and Cairo, the scientific analysis of these artefacts from one of Egypt’s most sensational archaeological finds has been completed.

The German Foreign Office and the German Research Foundation (DFG) funded the work.

Ancient Egyptian obelisk discovered


Part of the newly discovered obelisk, photo by Waziri and Collombert

Translated from Dutch NOS radio:

Special find in Egypt: 2.5 meter high obelisk of 6-year-old monarch

Today, 11:17

At least 2.5 meters high, red granite and covered with gold leaf: in Egypt the upper part of a huge obelisk has been found. “A special find in a special place, in the Southern Sakkara region, where a big obelisk had never been found before”, Egyptologist Huub Pragt explains in the NOS Radio 1 News.

It is an obelisk from the Old Kingdom, the first great period, says Pragt. “From that time we know small obelisks, but this is a big one. Probably the monolith was 5 meters high, which is really huge for that period.”

An obelisk is a straight needle-shaped monument that usually consists of granite. At the point, gold leaf was often placed to reflect the sun’s rays. The obelisks were therefore established as a worship for the sun god Ra. In the Old Kingdom, the monuments were also often associated with tombs.

The obelisk most probably belonged to Queen Anchesenpepy II, the mother of King Pepy II of the 6th Dynasty. “Pepy II came as a 6 year old boy on the throne and would be the longest ruling king ever. He became 100 years old and continued to rule”, says Pragt. On his side was his mother Anchesenpepy II, she ruled jointly with him. “Therefore she will probably have received that great obelisk.”

The French-Swiss archaeological mission that has found the obelisk continues to search for fragments in the area.

Ancient Egyptian goldsmith’s tomb discovery


This video says about itself:

Get a First Look Inside a Newly Opened Egyptian Tomb | National Geographic

17 September 2017

Archaeologists explored for the first time a 3,500-year-old tomb near Luxor, Egypt. The tomb belonged to a goldsmith and his wife, and includes a crumbling statue of the pair. The family lived during Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. Archaeologists also found statuettes, mummies, pottery, and other artifacts. They hope that its contents may yield clues to other discoveries.

Ancient Sudanese goldsmith’s tomb found


This video says about itself:

Ancient tomb of gold worker found along Nile river

3 July 2017

The ancient tomb found on Sai Island seems to have been built for a man named Khnummose. His remains along with those of possibly his wife were buried there.

A 3,400-year-old tomb holding the remains of more than a dozen possibly mummified people has been discovered on Sai Island, along the Nile River in northern Sudan.

Archaeologists discovered the tomb in 2015, though it wasn’t until 2017 that a team with the AcrossBorders archaeological research project fully excavated the site.

The island is part of an ancient land known as Nubia that Egypt controlled 3,400 years ago. The Egyptians built settlements and fortifications throughout Nubia, including on Sai Island, which had a settlement and a gold mine. The tomb, which contains multiple chambers, appears to hold the remains of Egyptians who lived in or near that settlement and worked in gold production.

The artifacts found in the tomb include scarabs (a type of amulet widely used in Egypt), ceramic vessels, a gold ring, the remains of gold funerary masks worn by the deceased and a small stone sculpture known as a shabti. The ancient Egyptians believed that shabtis could do the work of the deceased for them in the afterlife. Some of the artifacts bore Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions that revealed the tomb was originally created for a man named Khnummose, who was a “master gold worker.”

The remains of Khnummose (which may have been mummified) were found next to those of a woman who may have been his wife. Some of the other people found in tomb may have been relatives of Khnummose, the researchers said, adding that they planned to conduct DNA analyses of the remains.

“We will try to extract ancient DNA from the [bones] of the bodies in question,” said Julia Budka, professor for Egyptian Archaeology and Art History at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. “If the [ancient] DNA is preserved, this will help us a lot. Otherwise, it all remains tentative,” said Budka, who noted that the samples are already at the Department for Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.

The archaeologists said they aren’t sure how many of the bodies were mummified.

“The state of preservation is very difficult here,” Budka said. “I am waiting for the report of my physical anthropologists. For now, the position and also traces of bitumen speak for some kind of mummification for all persons in Tomb 26 who were placed in wooden coffins.” Bitumen is a type of petroleum that the ancient Egyptians sometimes used in mummification.

Many of the coffins are also poorly preserved, and it’s uncertain exactly how many of the people were buried in coffins, Budka said.

From the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen in Germany:

New Kingdom Egypt: The goldsmith’s tomb

July 21, 2017

Summary: Archeologists are studying the impact of intercultural contacts in Ancient Egypt. New excavations in Sudan have uncovered a tomb dating to around 1450 BC on the island of Sai in the Nile.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich Egyptologist Julia Budka is studying the impact of intercultural contacts in Ancient Egypt. Her excavations in Sudan have uncovered a tomb dating to around 1450 BC on the island of Sai in the Nile.

A previously unknown tomb, some 3400 years old, has recently been uncovered on the island of Sai in the River Nile. It was in use for some time and contains the remains of up to 25 persons. Further analysis of the finds could elucidate the multicultural nature of the island’s population during this period.

The island was then located in Nubia, which was the primary source of gold for the New Kingdom of the Egyptian Pharaohs at that time. The tomb was most probably built for a master goldsmith by the name of Khnummose, and was discovered during excavations conducted by Julia Budka, Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Art. Investigation of the tomb’s contents and inscriptions has so far revealed that, following the conquest by the Pharaoh Thutmose III of the local African kingdom of Kerma, the local elites were rapidly integrated by the new regime. The earliest Egyptian-style burials on Sai date to the reign of this king.

Over the past 5 years, Budka has carried out parallel studies on three different Egyptian settlements that were established during the period of the so-called New Kingdom between 1500 und 1200 BC. The excavations on the island of Sai, which lies in what is now the Sudanese section of the Nile, not only provide insights into the relationship between the official representatives of the occupying power and the local Nubian population, they also demonstrate that the island was inhabited for longer than hitherto assumed.

“It had been thought that the settlement on the island was abandoned after the foundation of a new town at Amara West. Our finds, on the other hand, prove that Hornakht, one of Egypt’s highest ranking bureaucrats during the reign of Ramses II, not only had his official residence on the island, but was also buried there,” says Budka. This clearly shows that the town on Sai survived until about 1200 BC.

‘Philistines were not European invaders’


This video from the USA says about itself:

Aren Maeir | New Light on the Biblical Philistines: Recent Study on the Frenemies of Ancient Israel

9 May 2014

Aren M. Maeir, Professor, The Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, Bar-Ilan University and Director, The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, The Institute of Archaeology

The Philistines are well-known from biblical texts as one of the main adversaries of the ancient Israelites. At the same time, the biblical narrative indicates that other types of interactions also were the norm. Recent excavations in Philistia, and in particular those at Tell es-Safi, biblical Gath of the Philistines, hometown of Goliath, have provided exciting evidence of the very complex interaction between these two cultures, revealing the multi-layered facets of what could be termed a Frenemy relationship between the Philistines and Israelites. In addition, recent finds have very much changed our understanding of who the Philistines were, where they came from, and how their culture formed, transformed, and eventually disappeared. These topics will be addressed in this lecture.

That was three years ago. Now, there is a new theory.

From Haaretz daily in Israel:

Ancient Egyptian Records Indicate Philistines Weren’t Aegean Pirates After All

New study of 3,200-year-old documents from Ramses III suggests the much-reviled Philistines were not alien belligerents but native Middle Easterners.

By Ariel David, Jul 23, 2017

Research into ancient Egyptian records from the 12th century B.C.E. is shedding new light on a mystery archaeologists have been debating for decades: the origin of the Philistines and other marauding “Sea Peoples” that appeared in the Levant during the late Bronze Age.

The research, and other recent discoveries, suggest the enigmatic Philistines may have been a native Middle Eastern population, rather than invading pirates from the Aegean islands, as traditional scholarship holds.

The Philistines may also have played a much less nefarious role than previously thought in the sudden and unexplained collapse of great civilizations – including the Hittite empire, Egypt and Mycenae – that occurred around the 12th century BCE.

“We shouldn’t think of the Philistines and the other Sea Peoples as this huge coalition of Mediterranean fighters who whoosh through the land and destroy everything in their way,” says Shirly Ben-Dor Evian, the curator of Egyptian archaeology at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, whose doctoral research at Tel Aviv University resulted in the article published last week in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology.

Biblical influences

The study reinterprets ancient Egyptian records from the reign of Pharaoh Ramses III, which have long been known to researchers and have formed the basis of what we know about the early history of the Sea Peoples, of which the Philistines were just one group.

The so-called Harris Papyrus, a biography of Ramses III written under his son and successor Ramses IV, tells us that the pharaoh defeated the “Peleset” – as the Egyptians called the Philistines and other Sea Peoples early in his reign (around 1190 B.C.E.) and brought them back as captives to his lands.

Historians have used this document to explain how the Philistines first settled on the southern coastal plain of Canaan: They were brought there as prisoners and then gained independence when Egyptian control over Canaan waned a few decades later, just in time to become the wicked archenemies of the Israelites described in the Bible.

But there is a problem with that interpretation, Ben-Dor Evian notes. The papyrus literally says the defeated foes were “brought as captives to Egypt,” not Canaan, and “settled in strongholds” there.

Previous generations of scholars may have been too eager to interpret Egyptian texts to fit the Biblical narrative, she says.

“We know from the Bible that the Philistines lived in five main cities – Gaza, Ekron, Gath, Ashkelon and Ashdod, and we know that Gaza used to be an Egyptian fortress so we put two and two together and say: ‘Aha, Ramses settled them in Gaza,’” Ben-Dor Evian explains. “But this papyrus was written in the 12th century B.C.E., while the Bible, most scholars today agree, was probably written much later.”

Resettling prisoners in the heartland of the empire, rather than in peripheral areas like Canaan, was common Egyptian practice, Ben-Dor Evian says (and the Israelites would experience similar treatment at the hands of the Babylonians centuries later).

There is evidence that the captives “from the Great Green” – one of the terms with which the Egyptians referred to the Sea Peoples – were probably resettled in the west of the Nile Delta region, and may have even been pressed into military service. A different papyrus from Ramses’ time tells us that the pharaoh mobilized 100 Philistines and 200 Sherden (another of the Sea Peoples) to help deal with a Libyan rebellion to the west of Egypt. This would only make sense if the warriors were close at hand – rather than far off to the east in Canaan, Ben-Dor Evian argues.

A vicious enemy, or embellishment by Ramses?

But where did those defeated Philistines originally hail from?

The answer may come from inscriptions and reliefs found at Medinet Habu, Ramses’ funerary temple, which describe the pharaoh’s campaigns against the Sea Peoples, depicting two large battles, one at land and one at sea. The reliefs do not give names for their locations, and traditional scholarship held the battles were coordinated assaults that occurred almost at the same time in northern Sinai and the mouths of the Nile. But not all agree.

“There was this vision of a coordinated attack from land and sea,” Ben-Dor Evian says. “It’s part of the allure of the Sea Peoples: they were so good that they could coordinate their attacks on Egypt on land and sea at a time when there was no instant communication.”

But the battle reliefs at Medinet Habu are not connected; they are interrupted by a scene of Ramses hunting lions, suggesting the two encounters probably happened at very different places and times. Furthermore, the land battle scene is accompanied by depictions of humped oxen and carts carrying women and children.

These images, previously interpreted as further evidence of a mass migration of the Sea Peoples from foreign lands, are actually standard iconography used to identify locations in Syria and the northern Levant, Ben-Dor Evian says.

“Egyptian war reliefs don’t contain a location for a battle, because the reliefs are on the outside of the temple, and most people can’t read so there’s no point in writing,” she told Haaretz in an interview. “They used artistic conventions, icons, just like we do.”

Further confirming the northern context of the land battle is an inscription at the temple, describing the Sea Peoples as a scourge that had made a camp in Amurru after laying waste to Hatti (the Hittite empire), Alashiya, Carchemish and Arzawa.

All these kingdoms – except for Alashiya, which was in Cyprus – were located between modern-day southeast Turkey and northern Syria.

This list of terrifying deeds is likely historically inaccurate, Ben-Dor Evian notes: the Hittite empire had already fallen decades before Ramses’ campaign, while Carchemish is one of the few cities that was not destroyed during the Bronze Age collapse.

Perhaps Ramses was trying to justify his decision to go to war, or was making his foes look more powerful than they were to aggrandize his victory. If so, his propaganda effort worked so well that thousands of years later this inscription is still the basis for viewing the Sea Peoples as an all-powerful military machine that swept, barbarian-invasion-style, through the entire Mediterranean.

As the Hittites fell

Ben-Dor Evian suggests that while piracy by the Sea Peoples and warfare may have contributed to weaken the great empires of the age, we need to look elsewhere for the main causes of the Bronze Age collapse, such as the increasing complexity of those civilizations and the difficulties centralized powers faced in sustaining them. In 2013, a study by Tel Aviv University added climate fluctuation to the list of possible culprits, showing a long period of drought in the late Bronze Age that may have driven mass migration and conflict.

As for the origins of the Philistines, Ben-Dor Evian says it seems likely the people Ramses III defeated may have been simply locals from Syria or Anatolia who filled the vacuum created by the fall of the Hittite empire.

A Levantine origin for the Philistines is further supported, she says, by the fact that the Medinet Habu inscriptions identify the Sea Peoples as teher – the same term reserved to describe Syrian or Anatolian warriors allied with the Hittites during the battle of Kadesh, the great clash that Ramses II had won against his northern foes around 1274 B.C.E., nearly a century earlier.

“So, they were not this unknown group that suddenly appeared out of nowhere,” Ben-Dor Evian concludes.

The Aegean hypothesis fights back

Some archeological discoveries also seem to support this view. The presence at Philistine sites of Aegean-style pottery, long seen as evidence of their Greek origin, has now been shown to be a local imitation of Cypriot earthenware.

Meanwhile, the discovery at Tel Tayinat, in southeastern Turkey, of several inscriptions referring to the kingdom of “Palastin” or “Palasatini” also suggests the Philistines may have started as a neo-Hittite power in the northern Levant and later migrated south as the Egyptians lost control of Canaan in the mid 12th century.

That does not mean that the Aegean hypothesis has completely lost steam. Archeologists who last year uncovered the first Philistine cemetery ever found, in ancient Ashkelon, have described the burials there as typically Aegean.

It is likely that the Philistine culture that emerged in southern Canaan was the result of various influences and migratory waves from different locations across the Mediterranean, says Aren Maeir, a professor of archaeology at Bar-Ilan University who heads the excavation at Tell es-Safi, the site of ancient Gath.

“In the material culture of the early Philistines we see something from Greece, from Cyprus, from Crete, from western Anatolia,” Maeir told Haaretz in a telephone interview.

The archaeologist does agree with Ben-Dor Evian that the Philistines appeared earlier than previously thought and have been unfairly characterized as particularly warlike invaders.

“We see many people of different origins who settled aside the Canaanite inhabitants,” he said. “Despite some localized destruction, most of the Canaanite sites continue to exist peacefully alongside the Philistine ones.”

Thousands of years ago, the Canaanite people lived in a part of the world we now recognize as Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, establishing a culture that became influential in the Middle East and beyond. The Canaanites created the first alphabet, established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, and were mentioned many times in the Bible. But who were they and what ultimately happened to them? Were they annihilated like the Bible says? Here.

Ancient Egyptian necropolis discovery


This video from Egypt says about itself:

30 August 2012

TUNA EL GEBEL, near Minya, was the necropolis of the city of Hermopolis, This zone was a place with special adoration of the god Thoth. It is best known for the sprawling catacombs at the foot of the western cliffs, where thousands of ibises and baboons (dedicated to Thoth) and other sacred animals were buried from the New Kingdom on.

Besides fish, pigs, dogs, cats, goats, falcons, larks, and kestrels, all mummified and placed into pottery jars. Potsherds and torn and broken mummies are still strewn in the passages today.

Another main attraction of the site is the early Ptolemaic tomb of a high priest of Thoth named Petosiris, decorated with reliefs in a blend of Greek and Egyptian styles. Petosiris’s wooden coffin, exquisitely inlaid with colored glass hieroglyphs, can be seen in the Egyptian Museum.
Other main places are the chapel & tomb of Isadora, and her famous mummy. She was a young woman who drowned in the second century BC. Her mummy is into a glass case in her tomb.

The oldest monument at Tuna el Gebel is a stele marking the northwest boundary of Akhenaten’s city at Amarna, partway up a slope north of Hermopolis West. It bears scenes of Akhenaten and Nefertiti worshipping the sun disk (Aten) and is carved with an extensive text describing the founding of the city.

From Ahram Online in Egypt:

Cachette of 17 mummies unearthed in Egypt’s El-Minya

The Late Period burial site was discovered at the Tuna Al-Gabal archaeological site by a team from Cairo University

Nevine El-Aref, Saturday 13 May 2017

Tuna Al-Gabal archaeological site, near Upper Egypt’s El-Minya, buzzed Saturday with journalists who flocked in to catch a glimpse of a newly discovered cachette of mummies, dating from the Late Period.

During excavation work in the area, which neighbours the birds and animals necropolis, a mission from Cairo University stumbled this week upon the cachette — a term that describes an unmarked burial site used to house multiple mummies and protect them from looting.

Mission head Salah El-Kholi told Ahram Online that the cachette includes 17 non-royal mummies wrapped in linen and very well preserved. It was found by chance through a radar survey carried out in collaboration with experts from the university’s faculty of science in early 2016 that revealed hollow ground.

El-Kholi said the mummies were found in burial shafts along with a collection of eight limestone sarcophagi, two of which were carved in clay. A number of baboon coffins were also found.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany described the discovery as important because it is the first made in the area since the discovery of the birds and animals necropolis by Egyptologist Sami Gabra between 1931 to 1954.

The discovery adds to a spate of recent finds at sites across Egypt. Most recently, a mission from the antiquities ministry stumbled upon the almost intact funerary collection of Userhat, the chancellor of Thebes during the 18th dynasty, in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis on Luxor’s west bank.

El-Enany told reporters about this week’s cachette discovery at a gala ceremony attended by El-Minya governor Essam Al Bedewi, the ambassadors of Belgium, Hungary and Serbia and a number of top officials from the ministry and Cairo University.

El-Kholi said that both clay sarcophagi are anthropoid coffins, one of which is in good condition while the other is partly damaged. Two papyri written in Demotic and a gold decoration with the shape of a feather were also found.

“This feather could be decoration on the hair dress of one of the deceased,” El-Kholi said.

He said the papyri would be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum for restoration.

At a neighbouring site, the mission has also uncovered a number of Roman funerary houses made of clay. Inside they found a collection of different coins, lamps and other domestic items.