3300-year-old Egyptian Tomb with Vaulted Chambers Reveals Ancient Elite Burial Rites

Archaeologists team from the University of Pennsylvania led by Kevin Cahail have recently unearted a 3,300-year-old Egyptian tomb at an ancient cemetery in Abydos, one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt located about 11 km (7 miles) west of the Nile.

The unique feature of the exhaustive tomb with vaulted chambers housed several sarcophaguses and contained artifacts believed to be useful even in the afterlife, says Kevin Cahail.

Ancient Egypt, also known as the Gift of the Nile, is the centre-stage for the modern Egyptologists, who are engaged in exploring the ancient tombs with real gifts that lie just beneath the desert surface.
The recent excavation of a tomb revealed that it was 3,300-year-old that had a 23-foot pyramid at its entrance and was filled with the skeletal remains of at least 15 people. It had a sandstone sarcophagus on which hieroglyphics were inscribed.

The tomb was discovered in Abydos cemetery located east of the Nile, built below the surface, with the pyramid visible to the public above the ground.

“Originally, all you probably would have seen was the pyramid and maybe a little wall around the structure just to enclose everything,” Kevin Cahail, who is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania and the lead excavator, told Live Science. “It probably would have had a small mortuary chapel inside of it that may have held a statue or a stela giving the names and titles of the individuals buried underneath.”

Researchers deciphered that the sarcophagus was painted in red with images of several Egyptian gods and spells from the Book of the Dead. The tomb was meant for "Horemheb" who was a general of the army under Tutankhamun, but his mummy was disappearing from the sarcophagus.

Otherwise, several figurines were found, which were used as substitutes for the deceased. A rare heart-shaped amulet made of red and green jasper was also found in the tomb, which Cahail said was probably worn on the chest of one of the deceased.

Archaeologists describe that the said tomb was raided twice by invaders and many artifacts were stolen or taken away, leaving behind the human remains, which suggest three to four men, 10 to 12 women and at least two children, belonging to perhaps the same two families were buried there.

The tomb, excavated in 2013, shows Horemheb’s status in the royal family and the military so he could afford a tomb with so many bells and whistles.

The results of the excavation will be submitted to the American Research Center of Egypt in Portland, Ore., later this week, said the lead author, who is conducting excavations since 2008 and in-charge of the excavations at the South Abydos Tomb census project.

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