Archaeologists discover 3,300-year-old Egyptian tomb

The entrance of the tomb was once decorated by a pyramid roughly 23 meters high, and features a mummy-less sarcophagus.
By Brooks Hays   |   Updated April 1, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Archaeologists have unearthed a 3,300-year-old tomb outside of Abydos, one of Egypt's oldest cities.

The entrance of the tomb was once decorated by a pyramid roughly 23 meters high.

"Originally, all you probably would have seen would have been the pyramid and maybe a little wall around the structure just to enclose everything," Kevin Cahail, a University of Pennsylvania doctoral student who led tomb's excavation, told LiveScience.

Inside, archaeologists found the scattered remains of at least three or four men, 10 to 12 women and at least two children.

A sandstone sarcophagus crafted for a scribe named Horemheb was also discovered inside the tomb. The burial tomb is painted red and inscribed with several spells from the Book of the Dead that were believed to help the the dead enter the afterlife.

The sarcophagus is empty -- the mummy of Horemheb likely stolen during one of several times the tomb was ransacked over the years. Little remains except for the empty grave and disarticulated remains.

Another room in the tomb, this one coffin-less, is inscribed as that of Ramesu. Inside is evidence that Horemheb and Ramesu's family had military ties. Cahail says he think Ramesu was likely an older brother or father to Horemheb.

Because more women than men are found inside the tomb, there is the possibility that the two men may have had mulitple wives. Polygamy was common among the pharaohs, but less so among non-royalty.

Cahail says its also possible that the tomb was used for many generations by the same family, the discovered female remains being a long lineage of sisters, wives, and daughters.


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