Friday, February 27, 2009

Japanese mission finds wooden sarcophagi

With photographs.

Four anthropoid wooden coffins, three wooden canopic jars, and four ushabti boxes have been unearthed inside an unidentified burial shaft located in the northern area of the Ramesside tomb of Ta in the Dahshur Necropolis, south of Giza plateau.

Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni announced that this discovery was made by a Japanese mission from the Institute of Egyptology at Waseda University.

Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) said that although these coffins are empty now, due to looting by tomb raiders in antiquity, their original features remain intact.

He continued that preliminary study of these coffins has dated them to the Ramesside Era or the Late Period. The coffins are divided into two sets, each consisting of multiple coffins covered in black resin and decorated with yellow inscriptions. The two sets belong to two persons, previously unknown, called Tutpashu and Iriseraa.

Dr. Sakuji Yoshemura, head of the Japanese mission, said that the first set bears the images of its owner and various ancient Egyptian gods, while the other is decorated more simply.

The names of both persons are written on the canopic jars and ushabti boxes, which contain at least 38 partly broken wooden statuettes.

Reuters Africa

Thanks to Tony Marson for sending the link to me.

Japanese archaeologists working in Egypt have found four wooden sarcophaguses and associated grave goods which could date back up to 3,300 years, the Egyptian government said on Thursday.

The team from Waseda University in Tokyo discovered the anthropomorphic sarcophaguses in a tomb in the Sakkara necropolis, about 25 km (15 miles) south of Cairo, the Supreme Council for Antiquities said in a statement.

Sakkara, the burial ground for the ancient city of Memphis, remains one of the richest sources of Egyptian antiquities. Archaeologists say much remains buried in the sands.

The tomb also contained three wooden Canopic jars, in which ancient Egyptians tried to preserve internal organs, and four boxes for ushabti figures, the miniature statues of servants to serve the dead person in the afterlife, the statement said.

The sarcophaguses did not contain mummies because the tomb was robbed in ancient times but have the original black and yellow paintwork showing ancient Egyptian gods, it said.


The coffins were in excellent condition, with their original features and colored reliefs of deities in black and yellow, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a faxed statement today. They date back to either the Ramesside Period or the Late Kingdom of ancient Egypt, making them between 2,300 and 3,300 years old.

The archaeologists from Tokyo’s Waseda University also found jars that the ancient Egyptians used for human entrails, as well as 38 wooden figurines, the statement said. Most of the figurines are in a state of disrepair and have been put into storage before they will be reconstructed, it said.

Sakuji Yoshimori, the head of the Japanese dig, said the coffins belonged to two men named Tut Bashu and Ary Sara. No further details about the lives of the owners could be gleaned on initial inspection.

Red Orbit

Beware the unconnected video, with audio, which starts automatically when you hit the page.

Most of the 38 wooden figurines inside the ushabti boxes were broken, but one of them was unopened and reportedly in excellent condition. It belonged to a man by the name of Tut Bashu, who was the original owner of one of the coffins.

A man called Ari Saraa was the owner of another sarcophagus.

The report said the burials dated from the Ramesside period or the Late Dynastic Period -- anywhere between about 1300 and 330 BC.

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