3,000 year old coffins of ancient Egyptian chantress discovered in Saqqara
Anthropoid coffins - Photo courtesy of blogspot.com
By RANY MOSTAFA

CAIRO: Three wooden coffins belonging to an ancient Egyptian chantress, dating back to the 22nd Dynasty (950BC – 730BC), were discovered by the French Archaeological Mission, currently conducting excavations at Saqqara, said Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim Satruday.

The sarcophagi were discovered accidentally while the mission members were clearing debris of a nearby tomb belonging to Maya, Tutankhamun’s wet-nurse, said Ibrahim.

“The three wooden anthropoid coffins belonged to a royal chantress called Ta Akhet,” said Ali Al-Asfar, deputy-head of the ancient Egyptian section at the Ministry of State of Antiquities.

He added that the middle and inner coffins are in a good state, with well preserved decorations showing the face of the deceased.

“The inner coffin is not open yet and we believe it has a mummy inside,” said Asfar.

Inside the middle coffin, several funerary objects were found, including two wooden headrests and an oblong wooden box inlaid with ivory, Director of Saqqara Antiquities Alaa al-Shater told The Cairo Post.

The ivory box, which was found sealed, contained several spoon-shaped cosmetic tools, a kohl tube with a handle, along with beads, and an amulet made of faience, according to Shater.

“Since the most inner coffin was found sealed, it has to be opened in a room with certain temperature specifications so that the mummy, if there is any, is not harmed,” Shater added.

The new discovery is the second in Saqqara in less than 10 days. Last week, archaeologists from the Polish Center for Mediterranean Archaeology and the Faculty of Archaeology at Cairo University discovered a 3,100 year old tomb, according to The Cairo Post.

Saqqara is a vast ancient Egyptian necropolis housing tombs and pyramids from different periods of Egypt’s long history, former head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Abdel Halem Nour el-Din told The Cairo Post.

“Most of the monuments at Saqqara date back to the Old Kingdom period (2670-2180 BC). The site also houses the Step Pyramid, which is the most ancient known stone structure in the history of mankind,” Din said.

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