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Roman style sarcophagus found in Bahariya Oasis

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posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 12:52 PM
Here is news of a small, Roman style sarcophagus found in Bahariya Oasis.

Egyptian archaeologists discovered an intricately carved plaster sarcophagus portraying a tiny, wide-eyed woman dressed in a tunic in a newly uncovered complex of tombs at a remote desert oasis.
It is the first Roman-style mummy found in Bahariya Oasis some 186 miles southwest of Cairo, said archaeologist Mahmoud Afifi, who led the dig.
The find was part of a cemetery dating back to the Greco-Roman period containing 14 tombs.
'It is a unique find,' he said, confirming that initial examinations indicate a mummy is inside the coffin.
The carved plaster sarcophagus is only 3 feet long and shows a woman wearing a long tunic, a headscarf, bracelet and shoes, as well as a beaded necklace.
Coloured stones in the sarcophagus' eyes gave the appearance she is awake.
Afifi said they had not dated the new find yet, but the burial style indicated she belonged to Egypt's long period of Roman rule lasting a few hundred years and starting 31BC.
He said his team first thought they had stumbled across a child's tomb because of its diminutive stature, but the decorations and features indicated it was a woman.
Afifi said it was still unclear who the woman was but said it was most likely she was a wealthy and influential member of her society, judging by the effort taken on the sarcophagus.

Mummies of people of diminutive stature have been unearthed in other parts of Egypt, where they appeared to have importance in local religions at the time, he added.
The archaeologists also found a gold relief showing the four sons of the Egyptian god Horus, other plaster masks of women's faces, several glass and clay utensils and some metal coins.

[edit on 13-4-2010 by berenike]

posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:11 PM
Cool find. So it was a very short woman from the period of time when Roman's ruled Egypt, which did not last that long.

I wonder if the person inside was a full grown adult or a teenager or younger. Very interesting, she had to be of high status to get that kind of burial. It's funny because if you think about how most of us are buried today it isn't much different, and in fact their sarcophagus last longer! So cool!

posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:35 PM
reply to post by berenike
Nice post. I've been reading about this lately. I should whisper his name or use a codeword...Hawass has been blogging on it...

Also in Sheikh Sobey, I discovered near the tomb of Djedkhonsu the tomb of his father Badi-Isis and that of his wife Natsa, as well as his brother, whose name was not found. The knowledge of the location of these tombs came to me through two young people of Bahariya. They came to me while I was excavating in the Valley of the Golden Mummies and told me they knew about tombs hidden under the ground. At first I did not believe them, because there are many people who gossip and tell tales about antiquities. But finally I went with them, and they took me to a shaft next to the house of an old lady, and we went down into the shaft about 35 feet underground. I found myself in a maze corridor of beautifully decorated tombs. I began to excavate in this area, and found many wonderful things, but the tomb of the governor was the most exciting.
He whose name should never be spoken on ATS

I'm not one of Hawass' detractors and seriously respect the amount of information and findings that have resulted from his reign in the SCA. All said, his ego validates quantum theory in being so entangled it's in several different places at the same time

I haven't counted the number of times he uses 'I' and 'me' in this's a few. One could get the impression that he's the only person excavating.

posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 01:50 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

I wasn't too sure whether to post this, but since I have so much time to trawl around the internet I though it might be useful for people who only have time to drop into ATS.

There's loads of stuff available about Bahariya Oasis, here's an interesting article from 1996, by he-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned, about the Valley of the Golden Mummies:

The Mummies

The mummies buried at Bahariya Oasis fall into four distinct categories. The first type represent the wealthiest inhabitants of the area, probably local merchants and their families. These individuals could afford to have their mummies adorned with brightly gilded masks, and sometimes with gilded chest-plates embossed with images of the gods. The second type of mummy is wrapped in linen bandages, the face and upper body covered in painted cartonnage. Many of these mummies were given very lifelike eyes inlaid with marble and obsidian, which were so realistic that they unnerved some of our excavators. The third type of mummy that we encountered in the course of our work is not covered with any type of decorative mask, but is carefully wrapped with strips of linen arranged in elaborate geometric patterns. These mummies probably belonged to the middle class. Finally, we also came across poorly preserved bodies hat had been wrapped quite carelessly. These probably belonged to the poorer inhabitants of the oasis. Unfortunately, because the mummies and the tombs in which they were buried contain no inscriptions, it is impossible for us to know who they once were. It is only through careful study of the remains and the artifacts found with them that we can reconstruct something of the life of Bahariya Oasis in ancient times.

Just to ask - I can see there is a bit of an ego at play here, but how much do you think professional jealousy is behind some of the complaints about him? He must have just about the best job in the world of archaeology.

[edit on 13-4-2010 by berenike]

posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 02:57 PM
reply to post by berenike

Just to ask - I can see there is a bit of an ego at play here, but how much do you think professional jealousy is behind some of the complaints about him? He must have just about the best job in the world of archaeology.

His boss is a dictator and a human rights nightmare. Security forces can arrest, detain, beat, torture anyone they see fit to. There's no freedom of press and little recourse to law without wealth or influence.

I don't think people realise the system within which he operates.

He's a powerful man with the authority to sever ties with any academic institution he falls out with or that criticises him. Likewise, he needs the spotlight. International museums benefit from a good relationship with him and he with them. An Egyptologist would be hampered if their permit from the SCA was revoked...bad reflection on their institution too. I guess all this leads to tolerance on each side.

On the bright side, he introduced rules and expectations for anyone granted permits to work in Egypt. They have to publish findings within 5 years. They have to be specific about why and what area they want to investigate. No slackers. Look at what Lehner has shown us over the years and his background.

In my opinion, it's less about professional jealousy (it exists though) and more about his ego that pisses people off. The impression I get from interviews and comments of people in the field is sort of like treading on egg shells.

posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 11:11 PM

Originally posted by BeastMaster2012
Cool find. So it was a very short woman from the period of time when Roman's ruled Egypt, which did not last that long.

I suppose that depends on your definition of "did not last that long." The Romans directly ruled Egypt from 30 BCE to 646 CE and had extensive influence over the country before that.

posted on Apr, 15 2010 @ 07:00 AM
BeastMaster 2012 and Doomsday Rex

Thanks both - I should have put in a bit more background. This site gives a brief outline of Egypt under the Greek Ptolemies and the Romans:

Short quote from a long and interesting article:

Roman Egypt

In 30 BC, following the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became part of the Roman Empire as the province Aegyptus, governed by a prefect selected by the Emperor from the Equestrian and not a governor from the Senatorial order, to prevent interference by the Roman Senate. The main Roman interest in Egypt was always the reliable delivery of grain to the city of Rome. To this end the Roman administration made no change to the Ptolemaic system of government, although Romans replaced Greeks in the highest offices. But Greeks continued to staff most of the administrative offices and Greek remained the language of government except at the highest levels. Unlike the Greeks, the Romans did not settle in Egypt in large numbers. Culture, education and civic life largely remained Greek throughout the Roman period. The Romans, like the Ptolemies, respected and protected Egyptian religion and customs, although the cult of the Roman state and of the Emperor was gradually introduced.

Roman rule in Egypt

The first prefect of Egypt, Gaius Cornelius Gallus, brought Upper Egypt under Roman control by force of arms, established a protectorate over the southern frontier district, which had been abandoned by the later Ptolemies. The second prefect, Aelius Gallus, made an unsuccessful expedition to conquer Arabia: the Red Sea coast of Egypt was not brought under Roman control until the reign of Claudius. The third prefect, Gaius Petronius, cleared the neglected canals for irrigation, stimulating a revival of agriculture.

This site has a lot of information, including a timeline from about 3,000 bc onwards:

[edit on 15-4-2010 by berenike]


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