Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has uncovered three Ptolemaic tombs from the era just after the death of Alexander the Great over 2,000 years ago.
An Egyptian archaeological mission discovered the tombs during excavation work in the Al-Kamin Al-Sahrawi area, about 120 miles south of Cairo, near the banks of the Nile River and the town of Samalout.
After excavation, workers unearthed a collection of sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes as well as clay fragments that date the tombs to the 27th Dynasty and the Greco-Roman era at the very end of the Ptolemaic period.
The fact that the tombs were of various shapes and sizes is significant, said Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities sector at the ministry.
That fact suggests “that the area was a great cemetery along a long span of time,” he asserted in the post.
Ashmawy described the discovery as “very important” because it reveals secrets of the Al-Kamil Al-Sahrawi archaeological site. The discovery also contributes to previous excavation work that uncovered about 20 tombs that were designed in similar catacomb architecture that was widespread during the time.
Ali Al-Bakry, head of the mission excavating the site, said that the three newly discovered tombs have a different design than those previously discovered.
The first tomb has a vertical burial shaft carved into the rock and leads to a burial chamber.
Inside the chamber were four sarcophagi with anthropoid lids.
Nine burial holes were also uncovered, reads the post.
The second tomb had a similar shaft leading to two burial chambers, one with two sarcophagi inside. The other chamber contained nothing but the remains of a wooden coffin. There were also six burial holes, one for a small child, an important discovery.
“This was the first time to find a burial of a child in kamin Al-Sahrawi site,” said Al-Bakry.
Excavation work at the third tomb is ongoing but studies of the bones found in the other tombs has already provided researchers with insight into the nature of the discovery.
The bones are now known to have come from men, women, and children of different ages, reflecting that the tomb was part of a large cemetery for a large city rather than a military garrison, which would have presumably contained bones of men exclusively and of a similar age.
The site has been under excavation since 2015 when the team first uncovered a collection of five sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes as well as remains of a wooden sarcophagus.
A second excavation mission begun in 2016 uncovered five tombs, four of which have a similar interior design while the fight consisted of a burial shaft leading to the underground resting place.
“Works are under way in order to reveal more secrets,” said the ministry’s post.