CAIRO: A team of Spanish archaeologists have unearthed a 4,000-year-old female mummy wearing jewels in the necropolis below the mortuary temple of Pharaoh Thutmosis III in the west bank of Luxor, Aly el-Asfar, the head of the Upper Egypt Antiquities Department, said Saturday.
Both the mummy and the wooden sarcophagus in which it was found were badly damaged and trapped under the tomb’s collapsed roof, and the site of the find dates back to the Middle Kingdom (2,000 B.C.-1,700 B.C.), Asfar told The Cairo Post.
“The sarcophagus was found sealed, which suggests the tomb and its contents apparently eluded tomb robbers in both ancient and modern times. It seems that the roof had already collapsed before tomb robbers were able to enter,” he added.
The mummy, who is believed to have been an aristocrat in her 30s, was found wearing intact jewelry, including a gold-plated necklace inlaid with lapis lazuli, a shell-shaped golden pendant, two badly damaged silver ankle bracelets and two golden bracelets on her wrists, according to Asfar.
The excavation, restoration, conservation and site management project at the temple first began in 2008. It was a collaborative project between the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Seville, Spain, according to the website for the Thutmosis III Temple Project.
The Spanish team, currently tasked with the restoration and excavations at the temple, is directed by Spanish archaeologist Dr. Myriam Seco Álvarez.
“This finding is significant due to the rarity of the Middle Kingdom Period’s discoveries. It also emphasizes that this area had a necropolis that was used by ancient Egyptian nobles and high officials during the Middle Kingdom Period,” Álvarez was quoted as saying by www.20minutos.es.
The Mortuary Temple of Thutmosis III was discovered accidentally in 1960 during a restoration carried out between the Mortuary Temples of Queen Hatshepsut and Pharaoh Mentuhotep II, archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Saturday.
“Thutmosis III, better known as the Napoleon of ancient Egypt, was an army general and statesman who ruled Egypt for over 40 prosperous years. He spent long years of training in the army before he succeeded his aunt and half-sister Queen Hatshepsut,” Sabban said.