Rich Pickings in Luxor As Two Family Tombs are Found Including that of a Royal Goldsmith
In ongoing explorations of a necropolis at Luxor, archaeologists have opened a new tomb and the findings have been rich. Amongst the 3,500-year-old treasures are jewels, sarcophagi, pottery and four mummies, known to be the remains of a goldsmith and his family.
This is the latest in a series of interesting tombs that archaeologists have unearthed in Egypt in the last few months. It is the tomb of Amenemhat, a prominent goldsmith from the 18th Dynasty, New Kingdom period (1550 BC to 1292 BC). It has been found on the West Bank of the Nile at Luxor, in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis, an area which is known to contain the burials of many prominent noblemen and top officials, reports the Telegraph.
According to Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Director General of Luxor, who is leading the dig, the tomb’s entrance is located in the courtyard of a Middle Kingdom tomb. Found in the same exploration was another burial shaft containing the mummies of a woman and two children, revealed the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities in an announcement on Saturday, reports the Telegraph.
A researcher studies a hoard of remains found at the necropolis (Ministry of Antiquities)
The Ministry claims the tomb is of ‘Amen’s Goldsmith’, as it seems that Amenemhat dedicated his work to the most revered deity of the time, Amen. Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anani told reporters that the tomb is not in the best condition, reports stthomastimesjournal but as infiltrators of the burial place enter, they are immediately confronted by a slightly damaged sandstone statue of both the goldsmith and his wife, Amenhotep seated next to each other, overlooking their final resting sanctuary beyond. At the feet of the couple, the image of one of their sons is carved as a relief.
"The daughter, or as they used to refer (to daughters) 'the precious,' is usually the one pictured in this place. If the family have no daughters, they would take their daughter-in-law. It is unusual to see the son," said Waziri reported CNN.
Moving past this point, Waziri explained you find two burial shafts. The one to the right is 7 meters (23 ft) in length and was probably to house the goldsmith and his wife. In it were found several mummies, sarcophagi, funerary masks, together with several other statues of the couple.
In the shaft to the left, the evidence was quite clear that the tomb had been reused at a later date, as in this second chamber there were sarcophagi from the 21st and 22nd Dynasties or the Third Intermediate Period (1070BC to 664BC) reported the Guardian.
One of several statue representations of Amenemhat, the goldsmith, and his wife Amenhoteb (Ministry of Antiquities)
Another Family Resting Place
Along another burial shaft that was found close-by this tomb were found the mummies of a woman and two children. According to the ministry bone specialist, Sherine Ahmed Shawqi, the woman looks to have died at the age of 50 and showed signs that she had a bacterial bone disease, said the Telegraph. In this instance, the bodies were in two separate coffins with the children sharing one and the mother in the other according to the Ministry of Antiquities.
The lady seemed to have endured an uncomfortable end. “This woman probably cried extensively as the size of her carbuncles are abnormally enlarged,” postulated Shawqi.
The two other bodies, presumed her children, seem to be of two males aged between 20 and 30. It is thought that these would have been added to the burial place at later dates to the parent.
An Egyptian archaeologist looks at a newly-uncovered sarcophagus in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis (Ministry of Antiquities)
More to Come
Other items exposed during the excavation included a cache of 50 funerary cones. Of these cones, 40 are believed to belong to other officials from the time, whose remains have yet to be found. “This is a good sign,” said the leader of the excavation, Mostafa al-Waziry, as reported by the Guardian, “It means if we keep digging in this area, we are going to find more tombs.”
Although this find is not of a very high-profile personage from the past on the level of a pharaoh, the discovery is seen to be important by the Antiquity Ministry as it was found by Egyptian archaeologists working independently of the international research community.
“We used to escort foreign archaeologists as observers, but that’s now in the past. We are the leaders now,” said Mustafa Waziri, the ministry’s chief archaeologist in Luxor.
The continuation of archaeological investigations in Egypt are of high importance and these new finds add to the momentum. Egyptian minister of antiquities, Khaled Alnani, called it “an important scientific discovery” and went on to call 2017, “a year or archaeological discoveries.”
And he is not exaggerating. To mention just a few examples of finds, Ancient Origins reported on a huge tomb find in April, containing mummies and thousands of artifacts that belonged to a city advisor. In March, an 8 meter (26 ft) statue of Psamtek I was unearthed. Last month, a Roman-era tomb was uncovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Minya.
These recent finds have come after a quiet time for archaeology in Egypt since the disruption of the Arab Spring protests in 2011 and subsequent terrorist actions. According to the Guardian, such a loss of tourist revenue has severely reduced the capacity for of the Antiquities Ministry to maintain the ancient monuments. It is hoped that tourism, which is currently at a third of previous levels, will be encouraged by the recent flurry of finds.
Top image: Mummies of a woman and two children found in burial chamber at Draa Abul Naga, Luxor (Ministry of Antiquities)
By Gary Manners