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Ten Late Period tombs uncovered in Aswan

The Ministry of State for Antiquities announced, on Thursday, that a team of Egyptian archaeologists had unearthed ten tombs, mummies, and funerary masks dating back at least 2,300 years in Aswan.

Ten Late Period tombs uncovered in Aswan

According to an official statement issued by the ministry, these ten tombs and the funerary remains of their owners date back to the Late Period of ancient Egypt (Circa 664 BC – 332 BC) and were discovered near Aswan’s landmark Agha Khan Mausoleum, located on the west bank of the Nile.

Within these newly discovered tombs were stone-carved sarcophagi, mummified human remains, mummy wrappings, and colorful funerary masks.

Ten Late Period tombs uncovered in Aswan

Citing Sayyed al-Rawi, the chief archaeologist presiding over the excavation, the ministerial statement reported that these ten tombs are similar in terms of their simple architectural designs and layouts. All ten of the tombs had been carved into the earthen rock, with rock-hewn stairs descending into the entrances of simple burial chambers. Rawi added that further studies are soon to be conducted, and reparation and restoration efforts to be undertaken in the next few months.

According to the statement, these ten tombs are an extension of the western Aswan (formerly known as Swenett) necropolis – buried in which are some of the most prominent governors and administrators of the city. The owners of these ten tombs are likely individuals from a class of nobles who resided in Swenet, although this has not yet been officially confirmed.

Ten Late Period tombs uncovered in Aswan

According to the ministry’s chief of antiquities in Aswan Nasr Salama, these new tombs are significant in that they may be an extension of the West Aswan Necropolis – which had been discovered in the early 1900s.

In an interview with Mada Masr, Salama commented that “all that is presently known about these ten newly discovered tombs is that they belong to individuals from the Late Period.”

Ten Late Period tombs uncovered in Aswan

Burials in this ancient necropolis took place over an extensive period of time, approximately 2,000 years – from the Old Kingdom (Circa 2686 BC – 2181 BC) to the Late Period, according to Salama.

“Ancient Egyptians would typically bury their dead deep within the desert. Yet this was not the case in Aswan, as we can witness from this latest archaeological discovery,” said Salama. “In Aswan, such burials usually took place by the rocky hills immediately overlooking the Nile River – with tombs often being carved into the rock.”

Ten Late Period tombs uncovered in Aswan

Salama added that there were some inscriptions within these tombs, “through which we hope to learn the names, and identities” along with the social status/professions of these individuals, although this information will take time to decipher.

Author: Jano Charbel | Source: Mada Masr [June 01, 2017]

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