A new tomb unearthed in the West Bank of Luxor in Upper Egypt has been described by head of Luxor antiquities department, Mustafa Waziri, as a very significant discovery. Mr Waziri made his remark during a press conference on Tuesday 18 April in presence of Antiquities Minister, Khaled Enany; France’s Ambassador to Egypt, Andre Parant; and Luxor governor Muhammad Badr.
The 18th Dynasty tomb which goes back in time to around 1500BC was discovered in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the Kings on Luxor’s West Bank. The Valley was the burial place for Egypt’s New Kingdom (1550 BC –1077 BC) pharaohs including Tutankhamun.
The new tomb includes a number of mummies, 10 colourful wooden sarcophagi and more than 1,000 funerary figurines. It belonged to a nobleman named Userhat who was the city judge, the Antiquities Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We found a huge number of ushabti (small carved figurines that were placed with the dead in order to serve them in the afterlife), more than 1,000 of them,” Mr Enany said.
Antiquities officials had initially said six mummies along with partial remains were discovered, but said they had later identified two more mummies.
“There are 10 coffins and eight mummies, Mr Waziri said, “and excavations are ongoing.” The sarcophagi are covered with intricate drawings in red, blue, black, green, and yellow, featuring the carved faces of the dead.
“The tomb is T-shaped and consists of an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber,” the Ministry’s statement said.
A nine-metre shaft inside the tomb held the ushabti figurines, as well as “wooden masks and a handle of a sarcophagus lid.”
“The corridor of the tomb leads into an inner chamber where a cachette of sarcophagi was found,” the Ministry said.
Mr Waziri said the mummies date back to an age notorious as “the era of the tomb robbers.”
“It’s evident that someone with a conscience, the priests or a high-profile government official… made an opening to the chambers, and they put the coffins there,” he said.
According to the Ministry’s statement, another room in the tomb was also discovered, though it has not yet been completely excavated.
Archaeologists were able to enter the tomb “after removing almost 450 metres of debris out of the open court,” it added.
19 April 2017