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30 Mummies Found Inside Fire-Scorched Tomb in Aswan

Made up of four deep chambers, the tomb is thought to have carried generations of a single family from the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.

A team of archaeologists from the Aswan and Nubian Antiquities Zone in Egypt, as well as the University of Milan in Italy, have uncovered a familial tomb hidden inside a fire-scorched structure in Aswan.

Inside this 2000-year-old tomb, they discovered 30 mummies of varying ages from newborns to elderly people. Made up of four deep chambers, the tomb is thought to have carried generations of a single family from the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. 

Due to its location along a valley of access to a necropolis, it seems the enclosure may have been a sacred place of sacrifice where the locals made offerings to the God Khnum—the creator god and protector of the Nile’s fertile floods. The excavation team found more evidence supporting this theory, noting signs of fire on the structure walls that may have come as part of an offering ceremony. They also found animal bones, plant remains, a vase with small fruits and offering tables along with the mummified remains. 

A handful of the mummies are well-preserved including the remains of a child inside a terracotta sarcophagus while several others have had their bandages and cartonnage—the material used to wrap mummies—cut by thieves over the centuries. In fact, they found at the scene an iron knife that may have been used by plunderers.