Egyptian archaeologists working near the ancient city of Thebes (modern-day Luxor) have made a stunning discovery. A tomb located near the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis containing eight mummies, colorful wooden coffins and more than 1,000 Ushabti (small carved figurines) has been unearthed. They believe these artifacts to be around 3,500 years old.
Lead by Mostafa Waziri, the team discovered the tomb on the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor. The tomb was likely built during the 18th Dynasty (1550–1298 B.C.), but the team thinks it was opened during the 21st Dynasty (about 3,500 years ago) to add additional mummies (and artifacts) to protect them from tomb raiders.
The Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt released a statement saying the tomb belonged to a nobleman named Userhat who worked as a Luxor judge. Usherhat died of a disease, and the team of archaeologists are trying to determine which one. They went on to explain that the tomb is T-shaped, with “an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber.” White, orange, green and patterned pots were found in the tombs.
The Ushabti figurines (believed to help the deceased with their responsibilities in the afterlife) were found inside a 9-meter (30ft) shaft within the tomb, which also contained a wooden mask and a handle to a sarcophagus lid.
The sarcophagi are covered with intricate drawings in red, blue, black, green and yellow and, for the most part, are well-preserved. They also feature the carved faces of the dead. The team is working on restoring the wooden coffins, as well as examining a mummy wrapped in linen which was found inside one of the coffins.
Egypt’s antiquities minister Khaled el-Enany expressed his shock to reporters, “It was a surprise how much was being displayed inside” the tomb.
What does this discovery mean for the future? Spokeswoman Nevine el-Aref said there was, “evidence and traces that new mummies could be discovered in the future.” Waziri stressed that the excavation is still ongoing, hoping that more will be revealed about the tomb’s owner as they continue.
A separate room has also been uncovered, but the excavations haven’t started on it yet.