A centuries-old Egyptian high priest’s mummy and ancient artefacts were discovered on Monday from a remote burial site in Al-Ghorifa, some 165 miles south of Egyptian capital Cairo.
The site was discovered by explorer Josh Gates and renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who hosted the live broadcast of the reveal on Discovery Channel in the two-hour programme “Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live”.
The broadcast showed the opening of a sealed sarcophagus (stone coffin), which contained the mummy of an exquisitely preserved 2,500-year-old high priest, covered from top to bottom in gold banding and other artifacts.
It also revealed two other mummies, one of them inside a more than 2,500-year-old ‘Family Tomb’, the final resting place of a family. The tomb also included unique objects like an ancient Egyptian board game, remains of a dog and four canopic jars used to store a mummy’s organs.
“While the second mummy was not of a high priest or fully preserved, the objects inside the tomb and inscriptions on his sarcophagus reveal that he was a singer in the temple of Thoth, an Egyptian god,” a statement by Discovery said.
A mysterious wax head of a high priest was also found in the excavation.
Gates, following the broadcast, said: “There aren’t many who have gone down into unexplored ancient tombs. We were able to document spectacular artefacts and mummies and bring viewers along in real time. It was the thrill of a lifetime.”
“The programme was seen by millions of people. We are sending an important message that Egypt is safe and we invite tourists to come,” Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, said in a statement.
The ancient Egyptian ‘necropolis’ — literally meaning “city of the dead” — had long remained a mystery until 1927, when an antiquities inspector first discovered it. (IANS)