CAIRO – 20 September 2022: The Egyptian archaeological mission of the Faculty of Archeology, Cairo University, headed by Ola el-Egeizy, succeeded in discovering a pink granite sarcophagus for an ancient Egyptian senior stateman named Ptah-M-Wia, who held important administrative titles during the reign of King Ramses II.
The discovery was made during the excavations the mission is conducting in the Saqqara Antiquities Area, south of the ascending corridor of the Pyramid of Unas during its 2021-2022 work season.
Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mustafa Waziri explained that the mission had succeeded in the previous season to excavate the private tomb of Ptah-M-Wia. And as excavations continued during the current season, the mission was able to find a pink granite sarcophagus inside the cemetery.
The sarcophagus is covered with texts mentioning the name of its owner, and scenes representing the sons of the deity Horus accompanied by calls to protect the deceased. It has a cover in the form of a human figure depicting the face of the deceased owner of the cemetery, adorned with a false chin.
Waziri stressed that the significance of this discovery lies in the important positions held by the owner of the sarcophagus. Ptah-M-Wia held titles related to the management of the mortuary temple of King Ramses II in Thebes, including the royal scribe, chief supervisor of livestock and head of the treasury in the temple of King Ramses and responsible for the divine offerings to all the deities of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Ola el-Egeizy, indicated that the sarcophagus was found in the main burial chamber inside the cemetery, and that preliminary studies proved that the lid of the coffin was broken, indicating that the cemetery had previously been opened in later ages for burial, and was exposed to theft. The coffin was left with only traces of embalming resin. The broken part of the lid was found in the corner of the room near the coffin, and the mission managed to restore it to its original state.
Egeizy noted that the cemetery contains a burial well that was found in the middle of the columns hall of the cemetery. The width of the entrance to the well from the top is 2,20m, and 2,10m at a depth of 7 meters from the floor of the columns hall, where a hole was found on the western side leading to a sand-dammed hall.
When this hall was cleaned and the sand was removed, two other rooms appeared, one from the western side and the other from the southern side. They were empty of sand and no archaeological finds were found.
Egeizy added that during the cleaning of this hall, an opening was found on the northern side of the floor, with a curved staircase leading to the main burial chamber in which the sarcophagus of Ptah-M-Wia was found.