By Chris King • 07 December 2021 • 1:14
A mission headed by the University of Barcelona has been excavating one of the largest sites in the country, in the ancient city of Oxirrinco, located in the Egyptian Governorate of Minia.
An incredible archaeological find has been made by the Catalan team, of two Saite tombs from the XXVI Dynasty (664-525 BC.). They were the last natives to rule Ancient Egypt before the conquest of the Persians.
In one of the graves, a female anthropomorphic limestone sarcophagus has been discovered, the lid of which was somewhat displaced. Inside, was a stone amulet of an excellent quality headrest.
According to Maite Mascort, who leads the mission together with Esther Pons, the second tomb, “was completely closed and sealed, and the mission opened it for the first time during excavations”.
Another anthropomorphic sarcophagus was found inside, this time, a male one. It was accompanied by a mummy, surrounded by various amulets, including scarabs, a figure of the god Horus, double feathers, and hearts. There was also a heart scarab, and tubular and spherical pieces of faience belonging to the funeral network that covered the body.
According to the UB team, it kept all the funerary equipment, including the four canopic vessels with the mummified viscera inside. Along with those, were some 400 ushabti – statuettes that were designed to serve the deceased in the afterlife – and a ceramic vase with the remains of bandages.
For Mascort and Pons, the importance of the find lies in the fact that the Saita tombs they found were sealed, and are intact. They reportedly have an architectural structure different from those found so far in Oxyrhynchus.
The mission is due to end on December 10, but in their time in Egypt, they have already found five Byzantine crypts, and three Roman-era tombs with mummies. One of them was made from polychrome cardboard, and three with a gold foil on the tongue.
“This was a ritual of protection of the deceased characteristic of the Roman necropolis of Oxyrhynus”, where 14 of these languages have already been recovered so far, the researchers point out.
Yamal al Samastawi, the director-general of Antiquities of Central Egypt, pointed out that the Spanish mission has been working in the archaeological area of Bahnasa for almost 30 years. During this time, it has found many tombs dating from Saite times, Greco-Roman, and Coptic.
Oxyrhynchus is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Egyptology. It is famous for its wealth of artifacts found, as well as the thousands of unearthed papyri, which are still being studied, as reported by elperiodico.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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