Ancient mummification workshops and tombs have been discovered by archaeologists in Egypt’s Saqqara necropolis, located south of Cairo, according to the government.
Mostafa Waziri, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, revealed that these workshops, where people and sacred animals were mummified, date back to the 30th Pharaonic dynasty, approximately 2,400 years ago, Al Jazeera reported.
The researchers came across stony beds used for the process of mummification. They also unearthed clay pots specifically designed to hold organs and other vessels utilized in sacred rituals, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.
The beds discovered in the ancient workshops had special gutters at the end to make the mummification process easier. Nearby, a group of clay pots was found to contain entrails and organs, along with various instruments and ritual vessels.
Preliminary investigations of one workshop indicate that it was primarily used for the mummification of sacred animals, according to Al Jazeera.
#Egypt announced on Saturday the discovery of two ancient embalming workshops for humans and animals along with two tombs and a collection of artifacts in Saqqara necropolis, south of the capital Cairo. #archeology pic.twitter.com/R5Ehf1d7QC
— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) May 28, 2023
Discovery of tombs dating back to the 24th and 14th centuries BC
During the excavations, two tombs belonging to priests were also discovered, with their origins tracing back to the 24th and 14th centuries BC.
The first tomb, attributed to Ne Hesut Ba from the fifth dynasty of the Old Kingdom, showcased intricate artwork on its walls. Depictions of hunting and various everyday activities adorned the tomb.
This person had various prestigious titles, including Chief of Ten in the southern region, Director of Scribes, Priest of the gods Horus and Maat, and the person responsible for legally overseeing the digging of canals and waterways, according to the Ministry.
In the second tomb, which belonged to Men Kheber from the 18th dynasty of the late kingdom, officials noted that the walls were adorned with scenes portraying the deceased in different positions.
Fresh discoveries from the Saqqara Necropolis announced by Egypt. Finds included workshops, tombs, and artefacts. Saqqara served as the burial grounds for the ancient capital, Memphis #AncientSiteSunday #Archeology pic.twitter.com/iHnFJTMvw6
— Matty (@sumeriansauce) May 28, 2023
Additionally, Men Kheber held the esteemed title of Priest of the goddess Kadesh. Kadesh was a foreign deity of Canaanite origin, hailing from the Syrian region. During the 18th Dynasty, Kadesh was worshiped in Egypt.
Moreover, the goddess was associated with fertility and held divine authority over the celestial stars, captivating worshippers with her great charm.
Physical appearance of recently-discovered tombs
Dr. Muhammad Youssef, the director of the site, described the tomb of “Ne Hesut Ba” as a rectangular mastaba. The entrance to the burial chamber is located in the southeastern corner of the mastaba.
The front facade of the tomb features hieroglyphic inscriptions that bear the name and titles of the tomb’s owner and his wife.
Upon entering, one encounters a transverse hall adorned with various scenes depicting daily life, forests, agriculture, and fishing, as explained by Dr. Youssef.
Regarding the layout of the “Men Kheber” cemetery, Professor Muhammad Al-Saidi, the mission director, explained that it consists mostly of rock-cut tombs along the rocky edge, with some parts constructed using limestone.
The tomb includes a square-shaped hall with walls that still bear remnants of painted plaster. These paintings depict the tomb’s owner and his wife seated in front of an offering table.