CAIRO—A team of Egyptian archaeologists working in the Fayyoum governorate has discovered a large necropolis that is 4,000 years-old and contains 53 tombs.
At press conference on April 12, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt Zahi Hawass revealed that dozens of mummies were found within the 53 tombs recently discovered by an Egyptian expedition. The discovery includes four mummies dating back to the 22nd Dynasty (931-725 B.C.)
According to Abd Al-Rahman Al-Ayedi, a Supreme Council of Antiquities administrator and head of the expedition working in Fayoum, the expedition had found 30 mummies, nine of which are in good condition. He also explained that the rest of the tombs had been looted in the Pharaonic eras following the era in which the tombs were built.
Al-Ayedi continued, "We also found a tomb in which coffins had been gathered and burnt. We estimated the number of burnt coffins at 15, because in the same place we found 15 wooden masks on which the features of the dead were drawn." Al-Ayedi thought that the coffins were burnt in the Coptic era when the heritage of previous eras was treated as pagan.
El-Ayedi revealed that the tombs, which were cut into rock, were carved in different designs. The first was the most simple and consists of a burial shaft leading to a single burial chamber, while the second was a burial shaft that led to more than one chamber. The third design comprised a burial shaft followed by steps leading to a hall and a single burial chamber, while the fourth design was similar, except that it led to more than one burial chamber.
El-Ayedi noted that his expedition also found a funerary chapel from the Middle Kingdom era, in which there was an offering table, a large number of heads of sacrificed animals and large quantities of pottery. Also found in the chapel were pottery coffins, jewellery made of bronze and copper dating back to the Roman era and wooden masks.