Archaeologists find ancient Egyptian tomb with burials and statues of Isis

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Egyptian tomb that is believed to be more than 4,000 years old.

Researchers from a joint Egyptian-Japanese archaeological mission made the discovery at the site of Saqqara, which is around 20 miles south of Cairo.

Saqqara is one of the largest and most important ancient Egyptian archaeological sites. It contains a vast burial ground—which once served the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis—where numerous nobles were laid to rest. The site is also home to what is widely thought to be the oldest pyramid in the country.

In addition to the newly uncovered tomb at Saqqara, the researchers—from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and Japan’s Waseda University, respectively—documented several architectural elements, burials and archaeological finds from different historical eras during their excavations this season.

These human remains were found during excavations at the archaeological site of Saqqara in Egypt. Archaeologists have uncovered a new tomb at the site that is thought to date to the Second Dynasty.
Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The design of the rock tomb and the pottery found inside it indicate that it dates to ancient Egypt’s Second Dynasty, which ruled the territory in the first half of the third millennium B.C.

Among the burial finds the archaeologists uncovered during their excavations were the remains of a man with a colored mask and those of a young child. The researchers also discovered a number of burials from later eras, including a coffin from the 18th Dynasty (around 1530-1292 B.C.) that contained an alabaster vase.

The mission uncovered many artifacts this season, including two terra-cotta statues of the goddess Isis, various amulets and a limestone ushabti statue bearing the remains of hieroglyphic inscriptions. In addition, the team found numerous pottery tools and shards.

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Ushabti statues were figurines used in ancient Egyptian funerary practices that were placed in tombs in the belief that they would act as servants for the deceased in the afterlife.

Isis is one of the most important goddesses in ancient Egyptian mythology. Renowned for her magical powers, she was subsequently worshipped throughout the Greco-Roman world as well.

The latest discovery “provides invaluable insights into the history of this region,” said Nozomu Kawai, head of the Japanese team, according to Egyptian media outlet Ahram Online.

Mustafa Waziri, the SCA’s secretary-general, said that the collaboration with Waseda University has proved to be fruitful, with the discovery of the previously unknown tomb shedding new light on the rich history of Saqqara.

“The artifacts and burials uncovered provide a window into the lives of those who lived in this ancient civilization,” Waziri said, according to Ahram Online.

In a press release, Kawai said he hopes the mission will make more discoveries in the region during its upcoming excavation seasons that will reveal more of Saqqara’s secrets.