Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ancient Egypt: Potentially Really Important Findings

Here's the article from the Egypt State Information Service: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 Archaeological discovery in Saqqara Culture Minister Farouk Hosni said on 23/6/2009 that a group of Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed a number of ushabtis - an ushabti is a funerary figurine placed in a tomb as a substitute for the deceased, should he/she be called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife - and remains of animal bones and birds inside a hole near the Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara. The Supreme Council of Antiquities team was originally rehabilitating the southern front of the step pyramid when they came upon this crevice, said SCA Secretary General Zahi Hawwas in a statement issued Tuesday. They also found a layer of cement inside the hole, Hawwas added. Golden shells were discovered in the southern tomb, the SCA official said, believing ancient Egyptians could have used them to decorate wooden caskets or to place on top of car tonnages (material composing Egyptian funerary masks). Hawwas said that the SCA group unearthed 30 granite blocs that, put together, [rest of sentence was not online at the time I copied this article]. Samir Abdel-Raouf, the head of the team, said they found adobe bricks bearing the names of Djoser's daughters and his different titles along the corridor, noting that all pieces are now being renovated to form a coffin in which the wooden casket is placed with the mummy of King Djoser inside. ************************************ This is not the clearest article. First it mentions a "hole," then a "crevice," and then a "corridor." There are major differences in what each means! My primary interest is in the bird remains. Are they as old as the Step Pyramid itself? From what dynasty might they be dated? Were there remains of FIVE birds discovered? Inquiring minds want to know. If anyone out there can provide more information on this discovery, please post info! Thanks.


Vincent said...

I think there were a few items combined into one story there. There is a bit more information at Dr Hawass' website:

I was interested in the granite beams as they seem to be in the process of opening the sarcophagus of Djoser. There's a bit of info on that aspect on my blog:


Jan said...

Thanks for the link, Vincent, it clarified some questions.

It seems the deep hole was also the "crevice" referred to in the first article I came across, but the corridor is not related.

I don't believe I've ever heard of a hole like this before. I'm wondering if it was used to receive offerings outside the pyramid, or was used for some other purpose (but I cannot imagine what that purpose might be).

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