Archaeologists Uncover Mummies In Ancient Tombs Near Luxor

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Apr 20, 2017 06:18 PM EDT

SINGAPORE - APRIL 25: (NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE) The mummy of Nesperennub in cartonnage case is displayed during a media preview of the Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb exhibition at ArtScience Museum on April 25, 2013 in Singapore. The exhibition includes more than 100 artifacts and six mummies from the heralded ancient Egyptian collection of the British Museum. Among the mummies displayed is the Egyptian temple priest, Nesperennub who lived 3,000 years ago. (Photo : Suhairrmi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed what they call an "important discovery" in an ancient tomb near Luxor, Egypt. The tomb, which dates back to 3,500 years old to the 18th Dynasty, contained right mummies, wooden sarcophagi, and over 1,000 funerary statues. The discovery was revealed by the Antiquities Ministry Tuesday.

The Daily Star reports that the ancient tomb was owned by a nobleman named Userhat who is employed as a municipal judge. According to Mustapha Waziri, Archaeological Mission Head, the tomb was opened 3,000 years ago in the 21st Dynasty to accommodate more mummies. "It was a surprise how much was being displayed inside," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told reporters outside the tomb.

Aside from the mummies, about a thousand ushbati figurines were unearthed as well. In ancient Egyptian tombs, these small carved figurines were often placed with the dead individual to help them become responsible in the afterlife. Officials from the Antiquities Ministry said they first found six mummies along with partial remains near Luxor but later found two more.

"There are 10 coffins and eight mummies. The excavation is ongoing." confirmed Waziri. The team are also examining a mummy wrapped in linen found in one of the coffins. There were also white, orange, green, and patterned pots found in one of the tombs. Waziri explained that the age of the tomb was determined through the drawings on the ceiling.

Phys.org reveals that the tomb is T-shaped and has an open court leading into a rectangular hall, corridor, and inner chamber. Inside the tomb is a 9-meter shaft that held the Ushabti figurines and "wooden masks and a handle of sarcophagus lid." According to Waziri, the mummies trace its roots from an age called "era of the tomb robbers."

The Antiquities Ministry bared that the team discovered another room in the tomb but it has not yet been completely excavated. The tomb was buried under 450 meters of debris. For years, the tombs and ancient temples of Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt and now Luxor, served as a major tourist attraction.

However, tourism in the area has dropped in the height of the turmoil that removed longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak from power. Enany is hoping that with the new discoveries tourism in this side of Egypt would pick up again.

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