Archaeologists have unearthed a cache of pharaonic-era mummies in brightly painted wooden coffins near Egypt's little-known Lahun pyramid, the site head said on Sunday. The mummies were the first to be found in the sand-covered desert rock surrounding the mud-brick Lahun pyramid, believed to be built by the 12th dynasty pharaoh Senusret II, who ruled 4,000 years ago. The team expects to announce more finds soon.The site was first excavated more than a centuryago. "The tombs were cut on the rock itself, and they vary in architectural designs," said archaeologist Abdul Rahman Al-Ayedi, head of excavations at the site.
"Most of the mummies we discovered were with these bright and beautiful colors."At the site, bare skulls from some of the mummies sit on a hillside while workers gently brush away sand from coffins below the earth that bear images of their occupants, some painted in striking hues of green, red and white. Ayedi said the dozens of tombs dotting the site near Fayoum, 60 km (35 miles) south of Cairo, could give insight into the development of Egyptian funerary architecture and traditions from the Middle Pharaonic Kingdom all the way to the Roman era.
Some of the
tombs were built on top of graves from earlier eras, and Ayedisaid
archaeologists had found dozens of mummies, including around 30 that
were well-preserved. Some were inscribed with prayers intended to help
Site may date to earlier era
Ayedi said Egypt would soon
announce an additional significant find near the Lahun pyramid, once
covered by slabs of white limestone, showing the site could date back
to an earlier era thousands of years before previously thought.
"The prevailing idea was
that this site has been established by Senusret II, the fourth king of
the 12th dynasty. But in light of our discovery, I think we are going
to change this theory, and soon we will announce another discovery," he
He said teams had made a
discovery dating to before the 12th dynasty, but gave no details on
what it was andsaid an official announce......
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