The Antiquities Minister of Egypt Mohamed Ibrahim announced in January 2013 that Italian archaeologists working in Luxor made a new discovery. According to the “Huffington Post,” the Italians discovered tombs more than 3,000 years old beneath the temple of King Amenhotep II.
These tombs, hewn from rock, were found on the northern side of the temple. Each has a shaft leading to a burial chamber, reports Archaeology.org. Along with the sarcophagi were 12 pots containing embalmed remains.
What the find contained
Located along the western bank of the Nile, the temple was found to contain wooden sarcophagi with bones, as well as 12 well-preserved jars made of sandstone and mud brick that were used to preserve internal human organs, such as the intestines, liver, lungs, and stomach of the dead.
The sarcophagi, said to be painted in red and black and contain the bones of the dead, are decorated with the scenes of death. The canopic jars are said to be decorated with imagery associated with the Ancient Egyptian God Horus, reported the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Said the BBC, the four figures on the jars “have the heads of a human [known as Imsety], a baboon [known as Hapi], a jackal [known as Duamutef], and a falcon [known as Qebehsenuef], [which] were believed to help the soul find its way to heaven.”
Horus is one of the oldest and most significant religious images of Ancient Egypt ever to be found. It is thought that the god’s different personas are different perceptions of the same deity, which is consistent with the belief by Ancient Egyptians had that there were “multiple facets of reality,” according to the “Oxford Guide to Egyptian Mythology.”
The pharaoh whose temple complex they were found within was Amenhotep II, the seventh king of the 18th dynasty whose rule ended in 1401 BC. There is also a tomb of Amenhotep II in the Valley of the Kings, where mummies were found in 1882. Amenhotep II inherited a vast kingdom from his father, Thutmose III, but had to wage several battles against the Mitanni in what is today the nation of Syria to retain his power.
Importance of the find
Speaking to the BBC, Egyptologist Wafaa Elsaddik noted that the importance of this particular find lies with the fact that the temple was used not just for worship, but also for burial later. The detailed work of the jars also suggested that the tombs belonged to prominent persons.
Said the Minister of State for Antiquities, “It’s a very important discovery that highlights the importance of King Amenhotep II’s temple years after the pharaoh’s death.”