Photos: Ancient Egyptian Tomb with Pyramid Discovered
Tomb with Pyramid
Dating back around 3,300 years this tomb was discovered recently at an ancient cemetery at Abydos in Egypt. At left the rectangular entrance shaft with massive walls served as a base for a small pyramid that was an estimated 23 feet (7 meters) high. The tomb contains three vaulted chambers that would have been below ground in antiquity. They consist of an antechamber (attached to the entrance shaft) and two burial chambers, attached to the antechamber, at top and right. [Read full story]
The tomb was carefully made using mud brick. Thin, curved, bricks were used to make the vaulted ceilings. The tomb would have been very expensive and archaeologists believe that one or more of the deceased would have served in the military. [Read full story]
This heart amulet, a rare find, is about 2.4 inches (6 centimeters) high and was originally found in three pieces. The face is made of red jasper while the body is made of green jasper, and the wig of an unknown stone. Both types of jasper are very hard and so difficult to carve. The amulet was probably placed on the chest of one of the deceased individuals. It probably relates to spells from the Book of the Dead that tell the heart of the deceased not to lie.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the heart of the deceased would be weighed against the feather of ma'at (a concept that includes truth and justice). If the person's heart was equal in weight, or lighter, the deceased could obtain eternal life; if it was heavier than ma'at the deceased would be destroyed. [Read full story]
In one of the burial chambers the archaeologists found a sandstone sarcophagus, painted red, which was created for a "scribe" named Horemheb. It contains images of the gods and spells from the Book of the Dead. Excavation leader Kevin Cahail is shown at left next to Rais Ibrahim, the dig foreman. [Read full story]
A close-up of part of the sarcophagus shows the jackal-headed god Anubis at right and Duamutef, a son of the god Horus, at left. The right-hand column of hieroglyphs contains Horemheb's name and the title of "scribe." [Read full story]
A view of the lower-right corner of the sarcophagus, on each corner an image of Thoth, the god of writing and knowledge, was shown. He has the head of an ibis bird. [Read full story]
The team carefully moved the sarcophagus out of the tomb. While it was being moved it could be seen vividly in the sunlight. [Read full story]
Painted shabti figurines were found in the other burial chamber (which no longer contains a sarcophagus). Shabtis were created to do the work of the deceased in the afterlife. An inscription on these shabtis says they are for the "Overseer of the Stable, Ramesu (also spelled Ramesses)." This appears to be a military title. Ramesu may have been a father or older brother of Horemheb. This military connection would pay off handsomely in the fine tomb they were able to build. [Read full story]
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Owen Jarus is a regular contributor to Live Science who writes about archaeology and humans' past. He has also written for The Independent (UK), The Canadian Press (CP) and The Associated Press (AP), among others. Owen has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto and a journalism degree from Ryerson University.
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