Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered a stunning find: more than 1,000 tiny statues and 10 sarcophagi — eight of them containing mummies — hidden in a riverbank tomb in the city of Luxor along the Nile River’s east bank.
Egypt’s Ministry of State of Antiquities said Tuesday that the tomb was likely built sometime during the New Kingdom period, which lasted from approximately 1,500 to 1,000 B.C., according to CBS News.
Within the tomb was an open courtyard that leads to two halls, one that contained four ancient coffins, another that held six. A third chamber was reportedly also found, and within it more than 1,000 statues were located.
A video featuring some of the tomb’s items may be viewed here via AFP.
What’s shocking is that this fairly luxurious tomb wasn’t owned by a king but rather a nobleman named Userhat, according to Smithsonian magazine.
“It seems to have been used first for him and his family, then opened in a later dynasty as a kind of mummy storage facility during a time when grave robbings were common,” the Smithsonian wrote.
Moreover, the tiny statues were Ushabti, or funerary statues “representing workers who presumably would be on call during a dead person’s afterlife,” the article noted. “The little figures would be buried along with their ‘master,’ ready to perform a variety of tasks in the tomb.”
The approximately 3,000-year-old sarcophagi were reportedly described as “well-preserved” and only showed marginal signs of wear. Moreover, the excavation of the tomb in Luxor was still ongoing, meaning more artifacts could still be found.
“There is evidence and traces that new mummies could be discovered in the future,” explained antiquities spokeswoman Nevine el-Aref.
And not just in Userhat’s tomb, but across all of Egypt. Earlier this year, for instance, archaeologists reportedly discovered 12 burial sites north of Aswan — and just last month the remains of a pyramid were found south of Cairo.
Archaeologists are often turning up new surprises in the Middle East. The latest find just proves that Egypt has a near-unlimited amount of history to share with the world.
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