LUXOR, Egypt – A mummy, funeral masks, and intact frescoes are among the treasures announced on Saturday to have been discovered in two New Kingdom tombs dating back between the 16th and 11th century BC, currently being excavated in the Dra’ Abu el-Naga’ necropolis, located on the Nile’s West Bank at Thebes, Egypt, near the Valley of the Kings.
The findings include a mummy in good condition, a statue dedicated to an Amun-Ra singer and hundreds of wooden and ceramic objects that complete the treasure discovered by an archaeological mission led by Mustafah Waziri, the General Secretary of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The tombs probably belong to high ranking officials, that are yet to be identified but were discovered in the ’90s by German archeologist, Frederica Kampp, although had not yet been excavated.
The most valuable object is a 60 cm tall polychrome statue of a woman identified as a representation of Isis-Nephret, found inside a seven-meter-long burial chamber identified as Kampp 150.
The woman was probably a singer dedicated to the God Amun Ra, Egypt’s then Supreme deity, and possibly represented the mother of the person buried there, who paid homage to her mother by dedicating her a full burial chamber in his own funeral enclosure, Waziri explained.
“The work of an Amun Ra singer was a very important position in those times, towards the end of the 17th dynasty,” Waziri explained.
The archaeologists suspect the tomb could also belong to a scribe called Maati, whose name appears inscribed beside his wife’s name – Mehi – written on 50 funeral cones.
Another hypothesis is that it belonged to an individual named Djehuty Mes, whose name appears inscribed on the walls, but of whom nothing else is known.
The other tomb, identified as Kampp 161, is located just some meters away at the base of a hill overlooking the Western bank of the Nile valley and is composed of a six-meter-long burial chamber profusely decorated with hieroglyphics, that in Waziri’s opinion “seem painted just a couple of days ago.”
The excellent state of the pigments on its walls probably indicate the chamber was reused, creating a cloud of dust or sand that contributed to preserve its color pigments for over three millennia.
This burial chamber dates back to the 18th dynasty, between the pharaohs Amenophis II and Tuthmosis IV.
The bottom part of a sarcophagus has been discovered decorated with a scene of the Goddess Isis raising her hands.
Both tombs are near the Valley of the Kings and contained many funerary objects including furniture, funeral cones, plates and hundreds of “ushabtis,” small statues left behind during the burial ceremony.
This is the third major discovery this year at the Dra’ Abu el-Naga’ necropolis, after a mausoleum of a Thebes mayor was discovered last April and the burial site of an 18th Dynasty goldsmith, containing objects from one of Amun’s temples, was announced last September.
The Dra’ Abu el-Naga’ necropolis is believed to contain over 350 tombs, most of them belong to high ranking officials of the New Kingdom administration in ancient Thebes.