Egypt: 16 tombs of high priests of Thot in Tuna el-Gebel discovered

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On the afternoon of January 30, 2020, the press conference of the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt was held in Tuna el-Gebel, which was declared to be discovered in the necropolis of the ancient city of Ermopoli in the governorship. Minya is in Central Egypt.

The discovery took place in an area reserved for the burial of the families of the priests of the god Thot [1] during the XXVI dynasty (672-525 BC), precisely in the area of ​​el-Ghoreifa, and, as pointed out by the Minister of Antiquities, Dr . Khaled el-Anani, this is the first discovery of 2020.

This area is not new to this type of discovery, in fact in the last three years Tuna el-Gebel has often been the protagonist with the treasures that its “sands” has released (read here for the discovery of a cachette with 17 mummies from the 2017 and here for the 2019 one where over 40 mummies were found). This last archaeological season led by dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, has unearthed a series of funerary wells whose burials, very similar to the previous ones both for the type of burial and in the outfit, were intended for the high priests of the god Thot and high officials of the 15th name of Upper Egypt. The 16 tombs contain around 20 sarcophagi of various shapes and sizes, some of which are decorated with the names and titles of their owners. These include five anthropoid limestone sarcophagi with engraved hieroglyphic texts and five well-preserved wooden coffins. The burials contained more than 10,000 ushabti in blue and green faiance, most of which bear engravings with the deceased’s titles; more than 700 amulets made of gold and semi-precious stones in various shapes and sizes; funeral masks and small jewels. Hundreds of ceramic objects are placed in support of the burials and many tools left by the ancient burial workers (such as tools for cutting stone and moving sarcophagi, wooden hammers and baskets made with palm fronds).

The discovery also includes eight complete groups of canopic limestone vases with inscriptions showing the titles of their owners; one of them bore the title of singer of the god Thoth. Two sets of four alabaster canopic vases destined respectively for a woman and a man were also found.

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