Few human traditions have the same lasting mystique as Egyptian funerary rites. For centuries, researchers have amassed evidence of complex rituals and chambers richly appointed for the entombed to live their best afterlife, but a recent discovery is set to dwarf them all. This month, archaeologists in Egypt announced findings from a site near Cairo that includes the largest-ever trove of embalming materials to ever be uncovered.
As reported by Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the discovery was made by an archeology team from the Czech Institute of Egyptology at Charles University in Prague while excavating a deep burial shaft in the ancient necropolis of Abu Sir. The burial shafts date from the 26th dynasty of ancient Egypt, the last to rule the country before the Persian conquest in 525 BCE, and the materials found interred in layers within the 14-meter (~46-foot) shaft date back some 2,500 years. These include 370 large clay urns containing traces of embalming materials used by priests to treat bodies as they were mummified and buried, the ministry told the National.
In addition to ash from a fire that burned near the mummification site, researchers have identified remnants of natron, a substance used to dry out dead bodies in preparation for interment, creating the classic preserved appearance of mummies. The discovery also included vessels with residues of resins, oils and myrrh as well as canopic jars. These jars are an important part of the mummification process, and would have contained a set of four organs, each protected by one of the Four Sons of Horus: Hapy (lungs), Imsety (liver), Duamutef (stomach), and Qebehsenuef (intestines).
“What we found were empty canopic jars, which had not yet been used,” Jiří Janák, a researcher from the Czech Institute of Egyptology, told Radio Prague International. “Interestingly, there were inscriptions on them including the name of the owner. That’s what helped us identify the person to whom this deposit belonged.” According to the hieroglyphs, the jars belonged to a man named Wahibre-Mery-Neith, son of Lady Irturu.
“It is probably the largest complex and undisturbed find of its kind originating from ancient Egypt,” Mohamed Megahed, deputy head of the archaeological mission, told the Greek Reporter.
Abu Sir means “House of Osiris,” the ancient Egyptian god of the dead and resurrection, and the necropolis became a major center for the burial of Egyptian royalty during the Fifth Dynasty reign of King Userkaf. The site is a major source of archeological treasures from Egyptian history, but this new discovery is an outstanding find.
“Imagine an area that’s about two square kilometers (about 1.2 miles) in size,” archaeologist Veronika Dulíková told Radio Prague International. “We have an amazing concession here with enormous potential. We estimate that only around ten percent of the total area has been explored so far.” More excavations are planned over the course of the year.
Once denounced as “women’s work” with no artistic merit, embroidery is experiencing a revival, with a feminist punch.
Inspired by the journey made by the epic hero Homer’s Odyssey, a show at Villa Carmignac combines myth with contemporary issues.
This new kunsthaus in Potsdam shows modern and contemporary works of art from East Germany in what was once a terrace restaurant.
Courtney Stephens’s documentary on women’s travels from the 1920s to ’50s presents not just personal glimpses into daily life a century ago but also documents of colonialism.
Laura Larson’s City of Incurable Women draws from archival materials to speculate on the lives of women who were famously hospitalized for hysteria throughout history.
The Philadelphia organization offers artists on-site access to recovered materials, studio space, construction equipment, a $1,000 stipend, and more.
The company is asking users to verify their bank details via Plaid, a fintech company that recently settled a privacy class action lawsuit.
Each artist will receive $190,000 in cash and benefits from the Tulsa Artist Fellowship over a three-year period.
Drawn to Life at the Ackland in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, showcases 17th-century Dutch drawings of landscapes, portraits, preparatory studies, and biblical and historical scenes.
The 1,000-year-old Cañada de la Virgen ceremonial site will be protected from encroaching development.
A total of 24 board members stepped down from their posts after the art center’s parent company allegedly attempted to terminate 12 of their colleagues.
A group of artists and writers denounced the center for hosting Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the country’s former dictator.