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Archaeologists Find Treasure Trove at Egyptian Princess’ Tomb

Archaeologists discover a treasure trove of Old Kingdom statues at a newly discovered tomb of an ancient princess. 2012-11-15 08:55 PM EST

A team of Czech and Egyptian archaeologists are continuing to excavate a recently discovered tomb complex.



They say it includes the tomb of an ancient Egyptian princess from the Old Kingdom.



The excavations have yielded a treasure trove of statues that experts say are some of the finest examples of their kind.



The findings were made near the Abu Sir necropolis in Saqqara, known to be a burial site for high officials of the Old Kingdom, when the capital was still located in Memphis.



Last week, archaeologists apparently unveiled the 4,500-year-old tomb of Princess Shert Nebti and three other tombs nearby—some of the most significant finds in recent years.



[Miroslav Barta, Head Archaeologist, Abu Sir Mission]:

"All the monuments around us developed during the fifth dynasty and belonged to several powerful families. One of the leading persons that was buried here is the princess Sherit Nebti. The excavation is not finished yet but still what we have at the moment is this unique pillared courtyard, which contains four pillars which were originally roofed, and inscriptions which say that Sherit Nebti,' the nose of two ladies', belonged to a royal family, a royal family of the kings that were buried northward in the pyramid field of Abu Sir."



Another notable temple at the site is believed to have belonged to a high official named Nefer or 'the Beautiful One'.



One of the most impressive finds in Nefer's tomb is a well-preserved passage that archaeologists say was a kind of 'passport' to the underworld.



Nefer was believed to cross back into the land of the living to participate in the offerings, later returning to the land of the dead.



chief inspector for Northern Saqqara, Hamdi Amin, says that there are still countless discoveries waiting to be made in Abu Sir.



[Hamdi Amin, Chief Inspector, Northern Saqqara]:

"We have a lot of treasure we find this season, nine statues, intact ones, limestones, good preserved colour, intact colours. Now they are situated in the magazines [storehouses] of Saqqara. Here we have a very big site for a new area. Abu Sir, we considered it to be a virgin area which is still keeping a lot of secrets."



Egypt's antiquities authorities say, excavators have uncovered four sarcophagi, and some highly detailed statues have now been moved to nearby storehouses.



[Miroslav Barta, Head Archaeologist, Abu Sir Mission]:

"The statues are important for two principle reasons—one of them is the mastery of their execution and the second important thing is that they represent a very huge new corpus of Old Kingdom unique statuary."



The authorities are hoping such spectacular discoveries may remind holiday-goers of Egypt's impressive and still unfolding heritage.



 

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