FILE- A 30-ton archaeological sarcophagus was found below a building in Alexandria governorate, Egypt - Ministry of Antiquities official Facebook page
CAIRO – 30 December 2018: Early 2018, Egyptian minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany announced 2018 as the year of archaeological discoveries. Anany added that every week and every day in some cases, an archaeological discovery is revealed; hence, Egypt should be introduced to the global stage in a positive way.
Egypt Today provides readers with a timeline of 2018's archaeological discoveries.
On May 9, a tomb of Great Army General, Iwrhya, from King Ramsses II's reign was uncovered.
The discovered tomb was found in the New Kingdom necropolis, south of the Causeway of King Unas in Saqqara, Giza.
The tomb probably dates back to the reigns of king Sethi I and King Ramesses III in the 19th Dynasty. The owner of the tomb was a great army general in the period of King Ramesses II, and his name, Iwrkhy, appears on the tomb, along with the names of his son and his grandson. According to the inscription found on the tomb’s walls, Iwrkhy's grandson also occupied a significant position.
Iwrkhy began his military career during the reign of king Sethi I and reached higher positions in the Egyptian court during the reign of king Ramesses II; he had foreign origins and was among the few foreigners who could reach high positions in the Egyptian court in the New Kingdom.
Influenced by the contemporary tombs in the area, the tomb includes a forecourt, a statue room with adjacent plastered vaulted storehouses, a peristyle court and western chapels that are still not excavated.
Exceptional scenes from Iwrkhy’s military career and scenes depicting the foreign relations with neighboring countries, including images of mooring boats taking down their loads of Canaanite wine jars, are found on the walls of the statue room and on the blocks. Furthermore, the artistic features of the tomb evidently prove that it was constructed in thereigns of king Sethi I and king Ramesses II.
On May 11, remains of a temple that dates back to the Greco-Roman period during the era of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius were unveiled.
The temple apparently belonged to Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, who reigned from 138 AD to 161 AD and ruled the Al-Hag Ali village in Siwa Oasis, situated 350m away of Gabal Al-Marwa (Mountain of the Dead).
This discovery is an archaeological evidence of the history of Siwa Oasis during the Greco-Roman era in Egypt. The temple consists of a foundation of a limestone, which is being measured 40m from north to south and 8.5m from east to west.
On May 24, parts of a huge red brick building, which are probably part of a bath dating back to the Greco-Roman era was uncovered. pottery vessels, terracotta statues, bronze tools, a stone fragment engraved with hieroglyphs and a small statue of a ram were all uncovered as well.
The most important discovered artifact is a gold coin of King Ptolemy III, which was made during the reign of King Ptolemy IV. One of the coin’s faces is decorated with a portrait of King Ptolemy III wearing the crown and the other side is the Land of Prosperity surrounded with the name of the king.
On June 13, an archaeological site, which was used in several eras as a quarry and a place for manufacturing flint was discovered in Elkab desert, Aswan. Several rock slabs with paintings and inscriptions on them were also uncovered, some of which date back to the Predynastic and Protodynastic era, along with burial tumuli, some of which dating back to the Protodynastic Period, while others dating back to the Late Roman era. This site, known as the lost “Oasis” or the ancient well, is considered a very important archaeological and epigraphic site in the Eastern Desert, which was believed to be devoid of ancient remains.
On June 24, A gold coin from the Islamic period was discovered by an Egyptian-French mission during an underwater excavation at Abuqir Bay in Alexandria.
On June 25, A well-preserved set of canopic jars was discovered in the tomb of Karabasken (TT 391), in the South Asasif Necropolis on the West Bank of Luxor. The uncovered jars are made of Egyptian alabaster and probably held viscera.
Although the contents of the jars were damaged by floodwater, the jars still contained a large amount of resin. The sizes of the jars (with lids) vary from 35.5 to 39.4 cm. The lids depict a human, a baboon, a jackal and a falcon and are skillfully carved and modeled by three different artists. The jars are belong to the "Lady of the House Amenirdis" from the 26th Dynasty.
On July 1, a statuette of Osiris was uncovered at the eastern side of the King Djoser Step Pyramid in Saqqara. The statue was found in a small incision between the huge blocks of the pyramid’s eastern façade. The statuette is for Osiris, the god of resurrection and eternity, and depicts Osiris wearing the double crown, and holding a feather in one hand and a scepter in the other.
On July 1, Egypt unearthed a 2,000-year-old sarcophagus in Alexandria, revealing that it is made of black granite of about 265 meters in length and 185 centimetres in height. The 30-ton tomb was found at a depth of five meters beneath the surface of the land.
On July 3, a cache containing hundreds of pottery vessels, dating back to the beginning of the Greco-Roman era, the Coptic era and the Islamic era was uncovered.
The discovered items include vessels which contain ashes of dead people; these vessels were used to bury the ashes during the Hellenistic period in the Greek era. The items also include a large collection of liquid vessels of various shapes and sizes, as well as crockery and colored pots, a large number of dishes which date back to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine periods and large quantities of glazed pottery decorated with geometric and vegetal drawings dating back to the Islamic era.
Such an archaeological discovery is very important because it unveils archaeological collections which have not been studied before, making it a reference for future archaeological studies.
On July 10, An ancient city dating back to the Greco-Roman era was discovered in Minya governorate. The uncovered city contains many ancient tombs carved in rocks, and extending to about 2 kilometres and 600 meters in width, as well as Greek-Roman columns, a church, and a cross.
On July 12 ,an archaeological site that includes several chambers dating back to the Roman and Byzantine periods was discovered. Some of the discovered rooms are an obvious portrayal of the Roman architectural style; the rooms contain the well-known Roman marble columns and walls of large stone blocks with right angles, proving they date back to the Roman era. A large number of coins were also found in these rooms.
Meanwhile, other rooms show Byzantine walls with irregularly sized stone blocks with spaces filled with weak Byzantine mortar, which were found broken.
On July 14, Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany announced the discovery of more than five stone coffins at Saqqara area, and declared it “a great archaeological discovery”.
Anany added that the Egyptian-German mission succeeded in uncovering a complete mummification workshop which contains burial chambers with mummies dating back to the 26th and 27th dynasty.
A gilded mummy mask decorated with half-precious stones was discovered covering the face of one of the mummies. The discovered items included three mummies, a group of canopic vessels made of calcite and a number of Ushabtis as well.
Anany stressed that the new archaeological discovery in Saqqara dates back to the late period of Ancient Egypt, from the seventh century BC to the fifth century BC.
The importance of such a discovery lies in its relevance to an important issue that the whole world is concerned with, which is the mummification, methods of embalming, its workshops and tools.
The greatness of this discovery lies also in that it was found in Saqqara, which no archaeological mission had visited since 1900.
The discovered mummification workshop hosted 1,500 Ushabti statues, the well in which the workshop is located in is connected to another well and is expected to be uncovered during the upcoming period.
On July 19, Egypt opened the mysterious sarcophagus, amid rumors of a "possible curse" that could be cast on the world once the sarcophagus is opened. Three decomposed mummies were found in the sarcophagus.
None of the three mummies belong to a Ptolemaic or Roman royal family and the coffin does not have inscriptions or a cartouche bearing their names.
No evidence such as silver or gold metallic masks, small statues, amulets or inscriptions were found to prove that the mummies belong to a royal family.
the matter that denied the rumors spread by some international newspapers that opening the sarcophagus would unleash the curse that would bring disaster to the world.
Since its discovery, the mysterious tomb has internationally grasped attention, and several international websites warned of its opening as it would be “a risky business or so history tells us” for the possibility of unleashing the curse that would bring disaster to the world, as remarked by the British news website The Sun.
On July 21, Egyptian Archaeologists have discovered an ancient pottery manufacturing workshop dating back more than 4,000 years in Aswan.
The workshop, the oldest pottery workshop in the Old Kingdom, belongs to the 4th Dynasty, spanning 2,613 to 2,494 B.C. Inside the workshop, archaeologists have found an ancient pottery manufacturing wheel made of a turntable and a hollow base.
This discovery is "rare" and reveals more about the improvement of pottery manufacturing and the daily lives of ancient Egyptians during that time in history.
On August 9, a sphinx was found at Al-Kabbash Road. The Sphinx’s discovery is expected as several sphinx statues are found across Luxor such as the sphinx statues for King Aymanhotb III and Thutmose IV.
On August 15, two ancient pieces made of mud-sand that date back to the Ptolemaic era were uncovered at theTemple of Kom Ombo in the city of Aswan, south of Egypt.
The Ptolemaic Kingdom was founded in 305 BC by Ptolemy I Soter (Macedonian General), who declared himself pharaoh of Egypt and created a powerful Hellenistic dynasty that ruled an area stretching from southern Syria to Cyrene and south to Nubia.
Each discovered piece is two meters in height, and consists of numerous codes and carvings.
On August 16, A Yorkshire based expert revealed that Ancient Egyptians were actually consecrating mummies 1,500 years earlier than previously thought; almost 6,000 years ago.
The discovery was made after tests were performed on a mummy that dates back between 3,700-3,500 BC.
On August 26, An Egyptian archaeological team has discovered a cemetery that dates back to the Ptolemaic dynasty in Alexandria. The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a Hellenistic kingdom based in ancient Egypt. It was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty, which started with Ptolemy I Soter's accession after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and which ended with the death of Cleopatra and the Roman conquest in 30 BC.