Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New Discovery, Luxor: Basel Egyptologists Identify Tomb of Royal Children in Egypt

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of Antiquities, announced today the new discovery by the mission of University of Basel in cooperation with the ministry of antiquities.
During the current field season of the University of Basel Kings' Valley Project, a subterranean tomb with several large chambers (KV 40) was identified as the burial place of members of the families of the pharaohs Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III (ca. 1400-1350 BC).The necropolis has been excavated by Egyptologists from the University of Basel for the past three years. The mummified remains may shed light on its occupants.

The analysis of hieratic inscriptions on storage jars revealed the identity of over thirty individuals, among which eight hitherto unknown royal daughters, four princes and several foreign ladies. One princess is called Taemwadjes, another one Neferunebu.
With this discovery, the University of Basel Kings' Valley Project fills an important gap in Egyptological research, insofar as the individuals buried in the non-royal tombs of this necropolis remained largely anonymous up to now.

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"We discovered a remarkable number of carefully mummified newborns and infants that would have normally been buried much simpler," Susanne Bickel, an Egyptologist involved in the excavation, said in a statement. "We believe that the family members of the royal court were buried in this tomb for a period of several decades."

Tomb KV 40 contained the mummified remains of at least 50 people – including carefully mummified new-borns and infants – as well as countless fragments of their funerary equipment. 

Inscriptions in the tomb describe that some of the remains belong to eight unknown royal daughters, four princes and several foreign ladies. The fact they were buried close to the royal tomb suggests it signifies they were considered important. All remains were plundered several times and heavily affected by a fire.
"What is certain is that they did not die at the same time (no epidemic), but over a certain time span," Bickel told LiveScience.

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The fragments of various wooden and cartonnage coffins indicate furthermore that the tomb was used a second time as a burial ground: long after the abandonment of the Valley as royal necropolis, members of priestly families of the 9th century BC were interred here.

Ali Al Asfr, Head of Ancient Egypt Antiquities department, said that anthropological analyses as well as further examination of the fragmentary burial goods will in future deliver important insight into the composition of the pharaonic court of the 18th dynasty as well as the conditions of life and the burial customs of its members.

For Official Article:
Basel Egyptologists Identify Tomb of Royal Children   Click Here

University of Basel Kings' Valley Project
Directed by Prof. Dr. Susanne Bickel 
Field-Director lic. phil. Elina Paulin-Grothe
The project web site can be accessed from Here
All images above are courtesy of MSA and University of Basel Kings' Valley Project

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