Archaeologists Unearth Egyptian Queen’s Tomb, 13-Foot ‘Book of the Dead’ ScrollBreaking News
tags: archaeology, Egypt
Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a cache of treasures—including more than 50 wooden sarcophagi, a funerary temple dedicated to an Old Kingdom queen and a 13-foot-long Book of the Dead scroll—at the Saqqara necropolis, a vast burial ground south of Cairo, according to a statement from the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiques.
As first reported by Al-Ahram, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and his colleagues discovered the coffins, which appear to date back to the New Kingdom era (1570–1069 B.C.), in 52 burial shafts measuring 33 to 40 feet deep. Paintings of ancient gods and excerpts from the Book of the Dead, which was thought to help the deceased navigate the afterlife, adorn the sarcophagi.
Hawass tells CBS News’ Ahmed Shawkat that researchers first started excavating the site, which stands next to the pyramid of King Teti, first of the Sixth Dynasty rulers of the Old Kingdom (2680–2180 B.C.), in 2010.
“[B]ut we didn’t find a name inside the pyramid to tell us who the pyramid belonged to,” he adds.
Now, reports Agence France-Presse, experts have finally identified the complex—which boasts a stone temple and three mud-brick warehouses that housed offerings and tools—as the tomb of Teti’s wife, Queen Naert. Around a month ago, the team found Naert’s name etched onto a wall in the temple and written on a felled obelisk near the entrance of the burial, per CBS News.
“I’d never heard of this queen before,” Hawass says to CBS News. “Therefore, we add an important piece to Egyptian history, about this queen.”
According to the statement, this is the first time archaeologists have unearthed 3,000-year-old coffins at Saqqara—one of Egypt’s “richest archaeological sites,” as Jo Marchant wrote for Smithsonian magazine last year. In recent months, excavations at the necropolis have yielded an array of exciting, albeit newer, finds, from sealed sarcophagi to ancient statues.
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