HUNDREDS of perfectly preserved mummies in painted sarcophagi have been unearthed in Egypt’s “City of the Dead.”
A stash of sarcophagi and bronze statuettes – including one by pioneering architect Imhotep – was unveiled by Egyptian authorities on Monday at the Saqqara archaeological site, south of Cairo.
Their discovery is likely to spark fears of an ancient curse said to be placed on anyone who disturbs an Egyptian mummy.
The sarcophagi and stauettes were the latest in a series of discoveries made in the area.
Saqqara is a vast necropolis — a city-sized cluster of tombs — of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to more than a dozen pyramids.
Among the 150 bronze statuettes unearthed at the latest finds is one of Imhotep.
The pioneer of “revolutionized architecture” in antiquity Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt’s Antiquities Council, said.
Imhotep, who lived in the third millennium B.C. built the Djoser step pyramid, one of the earliest in ancient Egypt.
He later became the god of medicine.
Waziri revealed a goal for the archaeological mission, which has so far conducted four seasons of excavation in the area: “To find the tomb of Imhotep.”
Other statuettes unearthed represent various gods and goddesses, including Bastet, Anubis, Osiris, Amunmeen, Isis, Nefertum and Hathor, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
The mission also uncovered “250 wooden sarcophaguses with mummies inside, dating to the Late Period,” around the fifth century BC, Waziri said.
Inside a sarcophagus, the team found an untouched and sealed papyrus, he said.
It was taken to the Egyptian Museum laboratory in central Cairo for full restoration and study, Waziri said.
He added that the papyrus – estimated to be nine meters (9.9 yards) long – likely contains chapters from the Book of the Dead.
The famous collections of funerary texts consist of magic spells used by the Egyptians to guide the dead through the underworld.
The sarcophagi will be moved to the Great Egyptian Museum, which authorities plan to inaugurate later this year near the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo after repeated delays.
Hopes are high that the new museum will help revitalize the country’s vital tourism industry, adding to the archaeological discoveries of recent years.
The sector has been hit by successive blows, including the 2011 revolution and riots that followed, the coronavirus pandemic and now a halt to Russian and Ukrainian tourists who made up a large part of the country’s visitors.
Among other finds at Saqqara, Egypt unveiled five ancient pharaoh tombs in March and last January announced the discovery of more than 50 wooden sarcophagi dating to the New Kingdom, which began in the 11th century BC. ended.
Mom damn fears
The legend of an ancient “curse of the pharaohs” or “curse of the mummy” has existed for thousands of years.
The curse is said to be cast on anyone who disturbs the mummy of an ancient Egyptian, especially a pharaoh.
It first gained worldwide recognition after the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
British archaeologist Haward Carter is known to have excavated the pristine final resting place of the 18th dynasty pharaoh in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Many believe Tut’s remains are cursed because the opening of his tomb was followed by a series of deaths of people involved in the discovery.
Archaeologists and even their family members died from horrific illnesses or in strange accidents — and some say the deaths were no accident.
In the decades since, a number of other mysterious deaths have been linked to the opening of Egyptian tombs.
However, experts have repeatedly dismissed rumors of a curse, dismissing them as little more than folklore.
The myth is said to have been invented by the ancient Egyptians to deter thieves from looting tombs.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8877737/hundreds-cursed-ancient-egyptian-mummies-city-dead/ Uncanny trove of HUNDREDS of ‘cursed’ ancient Egyptian mummies found in ‘City of the Dead’