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04/02/2013

CSIC ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN EGYPT DISCOVER 3,500 YEAR OLD INTACT COFFIN OF A CHILD


  • The casket, carved in wood, measuring less than a metre in length, was painted white and lacks decoration.
  • The sarcophagus dates from the time of the seventeenth dynasty, a little known historical era from which few remains have been found.
  • The find was made during the 12th expedition of the Djehuty Project, financed by Union Fenosa Gas.
  • Archaeologists of the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC) have discovered, in Luxor, Egypt, the intact sarcophagus of a child who lived during the time of the seventeenth dynasty, around 1550 B.C. X-rays indicate that the child may have died at approximately 5 years of age. The find was made during the 12th expedition of the Djehuty Project, coordinated by the CSIC researcher at the Institute of Philology, Jose Manuel Galán, and financed by Union Fenosa Gas.

    The coffin, made of wood, measures 90 centimetres in length and is without any painted or written decoration. The style of the carving, and the thin layer of white paint that covers it, are similar to the eight wooden figures, shabtis, which have been found near to the grave. The sarcophagus was located during the course of the excavations made by Galán’s team in the necropolis of Dra Abu el-Naga, on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, at ancient Thebes.

    “This discovery is of special importance because it is an intact coffin and, together with the objects that accompany it, can contribute a wealth of information on a time in the history of ancient Egypt about which very little is known”, the CSIC researcher explained at the excavations.

    The shabtis, and the linen pieces unearthed next to them, contain the name of Ahmose or Ahmose‐sa‐pa‐ir, a crown prince who lived at the transition from the XVII to the XVIII dynasty and died young. For unknown reasons, Ahmose was venerated as a Saint of the necropolis, worshipped for 500 years and was included in the lists of kings that were made many years later.

    “Because of the objects found we think that this place of burial could have been reserved for members of the royalty. However, we still do not know the identity of the mummy, as the sarcophagus does not contain any inscription”, adds Galán.

    According to the researchers, the location of this tomb in this area of Dra Abu el-Naga, could explain the discovery of a huge deposit of more than 2,000 ceramic vessels found among the adobe chapels, as well as the reason for the location of the funeral monument of Djehuty at this end of the necropolis.

    Twelve excavation expeditions

    The project takes its name from Djehuty, the supervisor of the Treasury and the work of the craftsmen of Queen Hatshepsut, one of the few women Pharaohs of ancient Egypt and whose reign lasted for 22 years in the eighteenth dynasty, around 1470 B.C. In addition to the excavation and restoration of the funeral monument of this royal scribe, the archaeological work is also focused on the tomb of Hery, dated by the experts to be around 50 years before that of Djehuty.

    The 12 excavation expeditions carried out by Galán and his team have born many fruits, such as the so-called apprentice’s board, the coffin of the warrior Iquer or the burial chamber of Djehuty himself, completely decorated with drawings and hieroglyphics from the Book of the Dead, among many others.

    Union Fenosa Gas finances the Djehuty Project through its 2012 expedition and has been present in Egypt since 2000. The company has a natural gas liquefaction plant near Damietta. Union Fenosa Gas supports this project, which emphasizes its commitment to research in Spain, and reinforces its close ties with Egypt.