Egyptian archaeologists have made a surprising discovery, having found eight mummies in a tomb near the ancient southern city of Luxor. The tomb believed to be 3,500-years-old also contained colourful wooden coffins and over 1,000 funerary statues.
The tomb, discovered in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the Kings, dated roughly from 1,500 to 1,000 B.C and is believed to have belonged to a nobleman named Userhat who worked as the city judge, the Antiquities Ministry said in a statement. The death vault has not been
fully excavated yet but so far, a lot of discoveries have been made. The mysterious tomb was opened to add more mummies during the 21st Dynasty, about 3,000 years ago, to protect them during a period when tomb-robbing was common. Ushabti figurines were often placed with the deceased in ancient Egyptian tombs to help with responsibilities in the afterlife. Hundreds of these figurines were also discovered in the tomb.
Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany said: "It was a surprise how much was being displayed inside. We found a large number of Ushabti (small carved figurines), more than 1,000 of them. This is an important discovery."
Head of the archaeological mission, Mostafa el-Waziri, said: "There are 10 coffins and eight mummies. The excavation is ongoing."
The tomb is T-shaped and comprised an open courtyard leading to two halls, one containing four ancient coffins and the other including a chamber that houses six. Journalists and Egyptian archaeological teams thronged the tomb to see the newly discovered artefacts. Inside the tomb, archaeologists wearing white masks and latex gloves inspected the coffins. They were covered with intricate drawings in red, blue, black, green, and yellow, and featured the carved faces of the dead.
A mummy wrapped in linen which was inside one of the coffins was also examined by the archaeologists. A nine-metre shaft inside the tomb held the Ushabti figurines, as well as “wooden masks and a handle of a sarcophagus lid,” the Antiquities Ministry said in a statement. Another room in the tomb was also discovered but it has not yet been completely excavated. Nevine el-Aref, the spokeswoman for the antiquities ministry, said there is evidence and traces that new mummies could be discovered in the future.