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Archaeology News   Science

Started 11/11/18 by Jenifer (Zarknorph); 32340 views.
Jenifer (Zarknorph)
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From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)

11/11/18

Egyptian archaeologists uncover sealed Fifth Dynasty tomb

Archaeologists have discovered a rare collection of mummified scarab beetles, as well as an apparently pristine Fifth Dynasty tomb they plan to open in the coming weeks.

Key points:

  • Archaeologists have found cat mummies and painted wooden cobra and crocodile sarcophagi
  • Mummified scarabs discovered have been described as "really unique"
  • A newly discovered tomb from the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom remains sealed

The mummified beetles were among artefacts found in seven tombs discovered over the past six months on the edge of the King Userkaf pyramid complex at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, south of Cairo.

As they were preparing the site to present the latest discoveries, archaeologists found the door of another tomb that remains sealed, said Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities secretary-general Mostafa Waziri.

The tomb dates from the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom and is unusual because the facade and door are intact, meaning its contents may still be untouched, Mohamed Youssef, director of the Saqqara area, said.

He said experts plan to open the tomb in the coming weeks.

The Fifth Dynasty ruled Egypt from about 2,500 BC to 2,350 BC, not long after the Great Pyramid of Giza was built.

The tombs lie in a buried ridge that has only partially been uncovered and could offer many more similar discoveries, Mr Waziri said.

Excavations in the area had halted in 2013 before resuming earlier this year.

Saqqara served as the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than two millennia.

Ancient Egyptians mummified humans to preserve their bodies for the afterlife, while animal mummies were used as religious offerings.

Two large scarabs wrapped in linen and in very good condition were found inside a limestone sarcophagus with a vaulted, decorated lid, the Antiquities Ministry said in a statement.

Another collection of scarab mummies was found inside a smaller sarcophagus.

"The [mummified] scarab is something really unique. It is something really a bit rare," Mr Waziri said.

"A couple of days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were sealed coffins with drawings of scarabs.

"I never heard about them before."

Dozens of cat mummies and gilded statues of cats were unearthed, including a bronze statue dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet.

The team also found painted wooden cobra and crocodile sarcophagi, a collection of gilded statues depicting animal features, as well as objects including amulets, canopic jars, writing tools and papyri baskets.

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Di (amina046)

From: Di (amina046)

11/11/18

I saw that and am fascinated! In school, Egyptian history was my favorite subject and I dremt about becoming an archeologist! Until I found out that if I got a space in an excavation, I would spend my days on my knees brushing dirt and sand and dust all day long.

Jenifer (Zarknorph)
Host

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)

11/11/18

I devour any documentaries on archaeology and space exploration.  Polar opposites, I know.

One of the most fascinating ones I saw was a forensic cold case recreation of Cleopatra's death that proved she could not have possibly died by a self-inflicted asp bite, but was murdered by her own guards.

Di (amina046)

From: Di (amina046)

11/12/18

Jenifer (Zarknorph)
Host

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)

11/14/18

Lost city of Tenea may have been uncovered

Photo of excavation in ancient city of Tenea

Archaeologists believe they have uncovered the first tangible remains of the lost city of Tenea, an ancient Greek city thought to have been founded by captives from the Trojan War after the sacking of Troy.

Key points:

  • Finds in excavation site include gold, dice made of bone and remains of foetuses in jars
  • Excavation could prove the existence of the ancient city which until now had only been known through ancient texts
  • Tenean citizens appeared to be affluent, benefiting from advantageous geographical trade position

A ministry statement said excavations from September to early October in the southern Greek region of the Peleponnese turned up "proof of the existence of the ancient city" of Tenea, until now known mostly from ancient texts.

Finds included walls and clay, marble or stone floors of buildings, as well as household pottery, a bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating from the 4th century BC to late Roman times.

A pottery jar containing the remains of two human foetuses was also found amid the foundations of one building. That was unusual, as the ancient Greeks typically buried their dead in organised cemeteries outside the city walls.

Lead archaeologist Elena Korka, who has been excavating in the area since 2013, said her team had only been digging in the rich cemeteries surrounding Tenea, and this year had commenced excavations on part of the city itself.

In one cemetery, antiquities smugglers dug up two remarkable 6th century BC marble statues of young men in 2010 and tried to sell them for 10 million euros.

"This year we excavated part of the city itself," Dr Korka said.

Excavation work continues on the cemeteries, located near the modern village of Chiliomodi about 100km southwest of Athens.

Archaeologists discovered nine burials there this year.

"The citizens seem to have been remarkably affluent," Dr Korka said, adding that the city probably did well out of trade, standing on a key route between the major cities of Corinth and Argos in the north-eastern Peloponnese.

So far, not much was known about Tenea, apart from ancient references to the reputed link with Troy and to its citizens having formed the bulk of the Greek colonists who founded the city of Syracuse in Sicily.

Dr Korka said more should emerge during the excavations, which would continue over coming years.

"[The city] had distinctive pottery shapes with eastern influences, maintained contacts with both east and west … and had its own way of thinking, which, to the extent that it could, shaped its own policies," she said.

Tenea survived the Roman destruction of neighbouring Corinth in 146 BC, and flourished under Roman rule. It appears to have suffered damage during a Gothic invasion in the late 4th century AD and may have been abandoned around the time of Slavic incursions two centuries later.

Di (amina046)

From: Di (amina046)

11/15/18

Jenifer (Zarknorph)
Host

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)

11/24/18

Egypt unveils ancient female sarcophagus

Two men in dust masks examine a large, well-preserved sarcophagus, with bright, clear painting on it

Egyptian authorities have unveiled a well-preserved mummy of a woman inside a previously unopened coffin in Luxor in southern Egypt dating back more than 3,000 years.

Key points:

  • First known time authorities unveiled previously unopened sarcophagus before international media
  • On same day, authorities revealed another tomb belonging to Thar-Irkhet-if
  • Inside that tomb, there were paintings showing its owner and family

The sarcophagus, an ancient coffin, was one of two found earlier this month by a French-led mission in the northern area of El-Asasef, a necropolis on the western bank of the Nile.

The first one had been opened earlier and examined by Egyptian antiquities officials.

"One sarcophagus was rishi-style, which dates back to the 17th dynasty, while the other sarcophagus was from the 18th dynasty," Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al Anani said.

"The two tombs were present with their mummies inside."

The Eighteenth Dynasty dates back to the 13th century BC, a period noted for some of the most well-known Pharaohs, including Tutankhamen and Ramses II.

It was the first known time authorities had opened a previously unopened sarcophagus before international media.

Earlier in the day, authorities also revealed in the same area the tomb of the overseer of the mummification shrine identified as Thaw-Irkhet-if.

The tomb contained five coloured masks and about 1,000 Ushabti statutes — the miniature figurines of servants to serve the dead in the afterlife.

About 300 metres of rubble was removed over five months to uncover the tomb, which contained coloured ceiling paintings depicting the owner and his family.

The tomb, which also contains mummies, skeletons and skulls, dates back to the middle-kingdom, almost 4,000 years ago, but was reused during the late period.

Ancient Egyptians mummified humans to preserve their bodies for the afterlife, while animal mummies were used as religious offerings.

Egypt has revealed more than a dozen ancient discoveries since the beginning of this year.

The country hopes these discoveries will brighten its image abroad and revive interest among travellers who once flocked to its iconic pharaonic temples and pyramids but who have shunned the country since its 2011 political uprising.

Di (amina046)

From: Di (amina046)

11/25/18

 And you beat me to it!

Extraordinary!

Di (amina046)

From: Di (amina046)

11/29/18

Jenifer (Zarknorph)
Host

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)

12/16/18

Egypt unveils 'one of a kind' ancient tomb

An excavation stands in front of a wall that has ancient Egyptian statues and hieroglyphs carved in.

Egypt unveiled a well-preserved 4,400-year-old tomb decorated with hieroglyphs and statues south of Cairo on Saturday, and officials expect more discoveries when archaeologists excavate the site further in coming months.

Key points:

  • The find is unique because the colour and statues are largely intact after thousands of years
  • The tomb dates from the rule of Neferirkare Kakai
  • More discoveries are expected as excavations continue

The tomb was found in a buried ridge at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara. It was untouched and unlooted, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters at the site.

He described the find as "one of a kind in the last decades".

The walls are decorated with hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs.

Mr Waziri said the tomb was unique because of the statues and its near-perfect condition.

"The colour is almost intact even though the tomb is almost 4,400 years old," he said.

The tomb dates from the rule of Neferirkare Kakai, the third king of the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.

Archaeologists removed a last layer of debris from the tomb on Thursday and found five shafts inside, Mr Waziri said.

One of the shafts was unsealed with nothing inside, but the other four were sealed.

They are expecting to make discoveries when they excavate those shafts starting on Sunday, he said. He was hopeful about one shaft in particular.

"I can imagine that all of the objects can be found in this area," he said, pointing at one of the sealed shafts.

"This shaft should lead to a coffin or a sarcophagus of the owner of the tomb."

The tomb is 10 metres long, 3 metres wide and just under 3 metres high, Mr Waziri said.

The tomb lies in a buried ridge that has only partially been uncovered.

Mr Waziri said he expects more discoveries to be made there when archaeologists start more excavation work in January.

The Fifth Dynasty ruled Egypt from about 2,500 BC to 2,350 BC, not long after the great pyramid of Giza was built.

Saqqara served as the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than two millennia.

Ancient Egyptians mummified humans to preserve their bodies for the afterlife, while animal mummies were used as religious offerings.

Egypt has revealed over a dozen ancient discoveries this year.

The country hopes the finds will brighten its image abroad and revive interest among travellers who once flocked to its iconic pharaonic temples and pyramids but who fled after the 2011 political uprising.

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