More than 2,000 years ago, ancient Egyptian priests buried a sacred statue of Ptah, the god of craftsmen and sculptors. During its "lifetime," Ptah's statue was likely well cared for, with priests washing it, perfuming it, dressing it and feeding it. But over the years, the Ptah statue accumulated damage, prompting the priests to give it a respectful burial.
The priests also buried a number of other sacred statues that had deteriorated over time. This burial is known as a favissa — a grave, of sorts, for sacred objects that were no longer in use.
The favissa also had 14 statues and figurines of the god Osiris, the god of fertility, the dead and of rebirth. It's possible that by placing Osiris with Ptah, the priests were preparing Ptah for rebirth, the researchers said. [Read the full story on the Egyptian burial here]
Archaeologists found the favissa at the Karnak temple complex in 2014.
The location of the Temple of Ptah, where the ancient statue was likely located before its burial.
he parts of the Ptah temple that were excavated in 2015.
A bird's-eye view of the temple of Ptah in Karnak.
The favissa was located at the back of the temple of Ptah.
[Read the full story on the Egyptian burial here]
Researchers spent about a month excavating the favissa, carefully noting where they found each artifact. Here, you can see a drawing, the 3D model of the pit and the exact location of its contents.
Researchers carefully conserve an Osiris statuette found within the favissa. It's possible the statue of the god Ptah was placed with the Osiris statuettes because Osiris was the god of rebirth.
The favissa contained 38 objects, including (starting in the top left and going clockwise) a male head made of gilded limestone, the lower part of the limestone statue of the god Ptah, a statuette of Osiris and a limestone sphinx.
An archaeologist excavates a wooden statuette of Osiris from the favissa.
3D cross section
A digital 3D cross section showing the artifacts within the favissa. Notice how the statue of Ptah was at the bottom with the other artifacts, the sphinx was on the second layer and the gilded head was placed at the top.