An archaeologist recently discovered a mummy that was laid inside a sarcophagus — which was part of a collection found in burial chambers dating to the Ptolemaic era or 323-30 BC.
A sarcophagus which contained an Egyptian high priest was recently aired on live TV during a special two-hour broadcast by the Discovery channel.
“Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live” aired from the site outside Minya, which is along the Nile River south of Cairo and its Giza pyramids.
After exploring other tombs, they discovered artifacts like statues, amulets, canopic jars used to store organs as well as other mummies including one that had decomposed to a skeleton.
They then crawled to the chamber — one which contained an intricately carved sarcophagus.
It took several people’s collective strength to open.
Archeologists recently found a network of vertical shafts at the site outside of Minya which led to tunnels as well as tombs containing 40 mummies “believed to be part of the noble elite.”
And what the team found was well worth it.
Inside was a linen-wrapped mummy surrounded by treasure which included gold.
“I can’t believe this, this is incredible,” an Egyptian archaeologist and former antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass, who had spear headed the expedition along with American explorer Josh Gates as the host of the broadcast.
Previously, a Discovery spokesman shared with AFP how the project was set up in collaboration with Egypt’s antiquities ministry.
Gates shared how the mummy was that of a high priest of Thoth — the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom and magic. This dated back to Ancient Egypt’s 26th dynasty — the last native dynasty to rule until 525 BC.
“Toward the end of Ancient Egypt, the power really was with the high priests and you can see this… almost feels like a royal burial,” Gates said.
When asked by AFP about a possible financial deal between the channel as well as the Egyptian state for permission to film and open the grave.
“It’s a media spectacle in the end — but it could make people love antiquities and is a good promotional opportunity for tourism, if done right,” an anonymous Egyptian archeologist shared with AFP.
However, she asked:
“If money is being paid by a major channel to the ministry to show antiquities, where is it going to end up?”
“Will it go in the state’s purse-strings or end up elsewhere? We need more transparency on where the money is going.”
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian President, has overseen a stricter hand on dissent, banning protests as well as jailing Islamists as well as liberal and secular activists.
Cairo has worked hard to promote archeological discoveries across the country in hopes to revive tourism after the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
The tourism sector has slowly but surely began to return — with government stats climbing to 8.3 million in 2017.
In 2010, it was at 14.7 million.
The “once in a generation” exhibition about the pharaoh Tutankhamun opened in Paris last month and is set to travel the world. It has been garnering attention thanks to Discovery’s broadcast.
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