Archaeologists uncover 3,200-year-old tomb of chief beer-maker in Egypt
A Japanese archaeological team from Waseda University have discovered the tomb of goddess Mut’s head of beer production in the Egypt’s famed temple city of Luxor. The tomb, which is around 3,200-years-old, is extremely well-preserved and contains spectacular paintings depicting scenes involving the tomb’s owner with his family members in front of different ancient Egyptian deities.
The burial chamber belongs to Khonso-Im-Heb, who was the head of beer production for goddess Mut and the head of the galleries during the Ramesside era. The goddess Mut was an ancient Egyptian mother goddess who was considered a primal deity, associated with the waters from which everything was born through parthenogenesis. She also was depicted as a woman with the crowns of Egypt upon her head. The rulers of Egypt each supported her worship in their own way to emphasize their own authority and right to rule through an association with Mut.
The tomb is T-shaped with two halls and a burial chamber. It is also connected to an unfinished tomb of an as-yet unidentified person called Houn. According to Egypt’s antiquities minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, it is "one of the most important discoveries made in the city of Luxor... at the Thebes necropolis."
The tomb has on its walls and ceilings landscapes and diverse sculptures that "revealed many details of daily life during the ancient Egyptian times" including family relationships and religious rituals. The ceiling is decorated with geometrical paintings in vivid colours, while a ‘solar boat’ is depicted at its core. One piece of artwork shows Khonso Em Heb making offerings to the gods along with his wife and daughter.
Another scene depicts the “Open Mouth” ritual, an ancient Egyptian ceremony described in funerary texts. The ceremony involved the symbolic animation of a statue or mummy by magically opening its mouth so that it could breathe and speak. The ancient Egyptians believed that in order for a person's soul to survive in the afterlife it would need to have food and water. The opening of the mouth ritual was thus performed so that the person who died could eat and drink again in the afterlife.