Friday, February 15, 2013

New Discovery, Luxor: 3000-year-old tombs found in Luxor temple

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) released a picture shows canopic jars that were discovered at Amenhotep II’s funerary temple in western Luxor. The jars were found during an excavation by a group of Italian archeologists after they unearthed a cemetery that includes several graves dating back to the beginning of the Third Intermediate Period (1075-664 BC).

The canopic jars are of excellent quality. There are 12 in total, some in limestone, the others in burnt clay. These vessels were used to hold the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines of the dead. The lids of the jars are carved in the shape of the four sons of Horus who are charged with protecting the organs. The baboon-headed deity is Hapi, guardian of the lungs. The human headed deity is Imsety; he protects the liver. Qebehsenuef has a falcon’s head and guards the intestines. Duamutef’s jackal head protects the stomach.

The Italian archaeological team from the Center of Egyptology Francesco Ballerini (CEFB) has been excavating the temple of Amenhotep II for fifteen years. For more about the temple and the group’s excavations, see their website. It has an interesting excavation diary but that’s only available in Italian. It’s worth firing up an online translator to read it, though.

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