3,500-year-old child burials unearthed at ancient Egyptian work site

Tehran, Dec 18, IRNA - A team of archaeologists in Egypt unearthed four ancient child graves at Gebel el-Silsila, the site of a former Egyptian quarry that dates back 3,500 years.

The finding provides new insights on what life may have been like at this ancient work site.

Several fascinating discoveries have taken place near Aswan during past few weeks, as Ahram Online reports. A Swedish-Egyptian archaeological team excavating at Gebel el-Silsila area unearthed four untouched burials of children. According to Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the four child burials date to the Eighteenth Dynasty, ancient-origins.net reported.

“They consist of a rock-hewn grave for a child between two and three years old. The mummy still retains its linen wrapping and is surrounded by organic material from the remains of the wooden coffin,” Waziri told Ahram Online.

“The second burial belongs to another child aged between six and nine years old, who was buried inside a wooden coffin, while the third burial is of a child between five and eight. Both of these graves contain funerary furniture, including amulets and a set of pottery.”

Maria Nilsson, director of the Swedish mission, believes that the newly-discovered child graves could reveal a lot of previously unknown information, “The new burial discoveries are shedding more light on the burial customs used in the Thutmosid period as well as the social, economic and religious life of people during that period,” she told Ahram Online.

Nilsson noted that the archaeological mission has been very successful during its previous excavation works, as it managed to unearth several burials, even though she acknowledges that the newly discovered burials are of particular cultural and archaeological value.

“More excavations and studies on the site will reveal more about the death rituals conducted during this period,” she said.

In the intervening period of time, an Egyptian-Swiss mission working in the ancient town of Aswan, led by Egyptologist Wolfgang Muller, also unearthed a statue of significant historical value – a headless female figure that was also missing her feet and right hand. “The statue is carved from limestone and measures 14cm by 9cm in width, and the thickness of its bust is 3cm, and the lower part is 7cm,” said Abdel Moneim Saeed, general director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities.

An initial investigation on the statue has showed that the dress the woman wears is almost identical to that of Artemis, one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities, goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth and protector of young girls.

Finally, an Egyptian-Austrian team of researchers working at a hill in Kom Ombo town, also uncovered part of a cemetery dating back to Egypt’s First Intermediate Period, almost four millennia ago. Some of the newly discovered mud-brick tombs contained pottery and other funeral items, as the mission’s leader Dr. Irene Foster noted.

“The preliminary study revealed that it is mostly built on top of an earlier cemetery. Below the cemetery the mission has uncovered remains of an Old Kingdom town with a ceiling impression of King Sahure from the 5th Dynasty (2,494 to 2,345 BC)”.

Source: Iran Daily

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