4,000-Year-Old Dried Heart, Embalming Materials Discovered in Egyptian Tomb

July 26, 2017 Updated: July 26, 2017

A team of Spanish archaeologists recently discovered a significant amount of embalming materials for the Vizier Ipi of Egypt’s 12th Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom—dating back around 4,000 years.

They’ve found urns, shrouds and bandages, oils, and natron salts.

What’s more, the team found the alleged heart of Ipi, who was the overseer of Thebes and an elite in King Amenemhat I’s court, according to El Mundo, a Spanish news outlet, and state-run news outlet Ahram Online.

(Spanish Mission)
(Spanish Mission)

According to Ahram, Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Antiquities Ministry’s Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, said the jars were actually first discovered in 1921 and 1922 but were essentially lost after they were buried in sand. The Spanish team recently uncovered them.

“The identification of these materials is of great importance for understanding the mummification techniques used in the early Middle Kingdom and the assessment of the kinds of items, tools, and substances involved in the process of embalming,” head of the Spanish mission Antonio Morales was quoted by Ahram Online as saying.

The tomb of Vizier Ipi, known as “the king’s only friend,” was found on a hill of Deir el Bahari on the west bank of Luxor.

(Spanish Mission)
(Spanish Mission)

Specialist Salima Ikram told Ahram Online that the identification of Ipi’s heart requires more investigation.

The team found the items despite the tomb’s walls and floors being totally washed away.

“Everything was covered in stone and the walls had hieroglyphic texts. It was all destroyed because it was later used as a quarry,” Morales told El Mundo.

In ancient Egypt, the vizier was the highest official to serve the pharaoh, and he was appointed by the pharaoh.