Hundreds of ancient tombs carved from rock have been discovered in Egypt according to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities which made the announcement confirming the presence of over 250 graves carved into different sections of rock that was arguably the final resting place of leaders from the city of Akhmim.
Archeologists accidentally stumbled across rock-cut tombs situated in Al-Hamidiyah necropolis near the Sohag governorate at the mountains to its east. The graves range in time from the beginning of the Old Kingdom in 2200 B.C. that was marked by the reign of Pharaoh Khufu, to the later phase of the Ptolemaic period (30 B.C.) marked by Cleopatra’s reign.
Among the discoveries were ancient tombs and burial wells, curved in different levels to one side of a mountain. The statement from Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities gave the location of the necropolis as situated in southern Egypt, to the West Bank of the Nile River. Dating shows that the tombs go back to the Ptolemaic period right at the end of the Old Kingdom.
Within the discoveries was a cemetery dating back to the final phase of the old kingdom with an entrance leading to a gallery where a burial well is stationed on its southeast. Embedded is a sloping corridor that leads to a small burial room. The well showed signs of reuse over the years.
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According to theSecretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr. Mustafa Waziri, the cemetery might have an imaginary door where inscriptions of ancient hieroglyphic writings give us a brief insight into his life. He is portrayed giving sacrifice while others make offerings for the deceased.
Mohamed Abdel-Badi from the Central Department of Upper Egypt Antiquities revealed that the excavation unraveled pottery vessels, a good number of which were used in everyday life. Other discoveries were utensils, miniaturized pottery vessels, round metal mirrors, animal and human bone remnants, artifacts that depict amphora that date back to the 6th dynasty.
Over 300 cemeteries have thus far been registered and marked within the area stretching from Nag al-Sheikhs to al-Kharandariya. This group of tombs seems to have housed the rulers and employers of the 9th region in Upper Egypt, which was an important administrative center due to the key location to Mediterranean and position between the exiled capital, Aswan and Abydos which is at the center of the worship in “Osir.” At that time, Akhmim was the central administrative unit and home to the cult of Min - a god associated with fertility, sexuality, and the desert.
In comments shared with Al Monitor, historian Bassam al-Shamaa shared that there is a likelihood that the tombs were for ordinary people, unlike the larger ones which often house royalty. Historians can use the discovery to understand more about the embalming process and other religious burial rights. Archeologists still expect to uncover more graves in multiple layers of the mountain.
It is argued that there is likelihood that the tombs were for ordinary people unlike the larger ones which often house royalty. The discovery can be used by historians to understand more about the embalming process and other religious burial rights. Archeologists still expect to uncover more gaves in multiple layers of the mountain.