On the 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, archaeologists have discovered hundreds of tombs and mummies buried at Giza.
Archaeologists have unearthed a pyramid that belonged to an Egyptian queen, near the tomb of King Tutankhamun. They found a coffin, a store of mummies and artifacts, and a series of interconnected tunnels.
Archaeologists have been working at Saqqara, an archaeological site in Giza for the past two years. Recently, they discovered a collection of coffins and mummies that may have belonged to some of his closest generals and advisers during the reign of King Tutankhamun (from 1333 BC until his death in 1323 BC).
Archaeologists focused their attention on a nearby pyramid that belonged to the first king of Egypt’s Sixth Dynasty.
Zahi Hawass, an Egyptologist who worked on the excavation and formerly served as Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities, said: “During the New Kingdom, Teti was worshiped as a god, and therefore people wanted to be buried next to him.”
“Nonetheless, the vast majority of previously recognized Saqqara burials were from the Old Kingdom or the Late Period. Now we have found 22 interconnected tunnels with depths ranging from 9 to 18 meters, all with New Kingdom burials.” (The New Kingdom period, also known as the Egyptian Empire, lasted from the 16th century BC to the 11th century BC.)
300 beautiful coffins from the New Kingdom
Hawass says archaeologists have found “a huge limestone sarcophagus” buried inside these tunnels, along with “300 beautiful coffins from the New Kingdom”.
“Since New Kingdom burials were previously unknown to be common in the area, this is entirely site specific. Each of the coffins is unique and has faces that distinguish men and women. It is decorated with scenes from the Book of the Dead [an ancient Egyptian funerary text].Each coffin also bears the deceased person’s name and often depicts the Four Sons of Horus guarding the deceased’s organs.”
Discovering the coffins wasn’t surprising enough. The researchers were surprised that the coffins were in such good condition. Because after so many centuries, it was unexpected that mummies were this good.
According to Hawass, “This suggests that mummification peaked in the New Kingdom. Some coffins have two lids, and the most amazing coffin ever has a female mask made entirely of solid gold.”
There were various artifacts inside the coffins and burial wells. These were games such as the ancient Senet game, small funerary figurines and statues of gods.
In addition, researchers found a pyramid in memory of a previously unknown queen.
Hawass said, “We discovered that his name was Neith, which had never been known from historical records. It’s amazing to literally rewrite history, to add a new queen to our record.”
Coffins and ancient artifacts found at the excavation site will be exhibited in a museum. This is expected to be at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, which is scheduled to open next year.
-Live Science. 16 November 2022.