Identities Of The Alexandrian Black Sarcophagus Still Sought, Sludge Requires Further Research

A woman and two men were buried inside the black sarcophagus discovered in Alexandria, Egypt.

The remains inside the black sarcophagus discovered in Alexandria, Egypt, have been identified
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A woman and two men were buried inside the black sarcophagus discovered in Alexandria, Egypt.

A month ago, archaeologists opened the black granite sarcophagus discovered in the Sidi Gaber region of Alexandra, Egypt. People around the world waited to find out just what it contained. While some were worried a curse would be unleashed, others believed the sarcophagus would turn out to be a fake and not truly dated back to the time of Alexander the Great. Then, there were those wondered if Alexander the Great might actually be inside the giant sarcophagus.

When the sarcophagus was opened, it revealed three skeletons believed to be soldiers and a large amount of liquid. It was suspected that the liquid was raw sewage that had leaked in over time. However, there were those out there who were convinced that the liquid was special and, as is the way with the internet, a petition was developed on Change.org by a group who wanted to actually drink the liquid from inside the vessel.

Now, a month on, a team of researchers has been hard at work trying to identify the human remains from inside the sarcophagus. According to Archaeology.org, the remains belong to a woman and two men. It is believed that the woman was approximately 20- to 25-years-old when she died and around 5 feet 4 inches tall. One of the men is of an equivalent height to the woman and is estimated to be around 35 to 39 years of age. The second man is estimated to be between the ages of 40 and 44 at his time of death. He also stands a lot taller than the other two, at approximately 5 feet 11 inches.

Zeinab Hashish, the director of the Department of Skeleton Remains Studies at the Ministry of Antiquities, notes that a healed hole in the head of the older man is believed to have been a result of surgical trepanation. In ancient times, this procedure, which involved drilling into a person’s skull, was performed on people who were behaving “abnormally.” It was believed to help release any evil spirits that might have been residing within the afflicted person. There was also the belief that this procedure could cure epileptic seizures and migraines. In modern day medicine, doctors use this procedure to relieve pressure on the brain. In Egypt, at that time, though, it was considered a rare practice.

The team of researchers, headed by Zeinab Hashish, also believe the remains were not all buried at the same time since the bodies appear to have been stacked inside the sarcophagus. Further DNA tests and CT scans will be conducted to determine whether the three individuals were related.

In addition to the human remains, the team also discovered “several small, intricately decorated gold panels.” According to Live Science, three panels were discovered. The images appear to depict a snake, a poppy seed head, and what could be “a palm branch or ear of corn.” Although, as yet, no further information has been released on what the images might mean.

And, what about that strange liquid inside the sarcophagus?

According to Ahram Online, the color of the liquid was a result of the raw sewage leaking in and dissolving the wrappings on the bodies. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Section at the ministry, reveals that “several analyses are being carried out on the water to uncover more about its components.”