An exciting new discovery has emerged from under the burning sands of Egypt.
Following an excavation near the White Pyramid that once towered over Dahshur — the royal necropolis found some 25 miles south of Cairo — archaeologists stumbled upon eight ancient Egyptian mummies buried in the southeast corner of the pyramid.
The mummies were found inside limestone sarcophagi, beautifully colored and adorned with decorations that have stood the test of time and endured for 2,500 years, reports the National Geographic.
The announcement was made today by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, which revealed that the eight mummies date back to the Late Period of Ancient Egypt (664 BC to 332 BC).
“The mummies are covered with a layer of painted cartonnage in the form of a human,” Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities unveiled in a Facebook post.
According to the National Geographic, the material, which is frequently used to wrap mummified remains and create funerary masks, is somewhat similar to paper-mache and is made from plaster mixed with papyrus or linen.
“Cartonnage is the term used in Egyptology and Papyrology for plastered layers of fiber or papyrus, flexible enough for molding while wet against the irregular surfaces of the body; the method was used in funerary workshops to produce cases, masks or panels to cover all or part of the mummified and wrapped body,” explains the University College London.
Out of the eight newfound mummies, only three were discovered in good condition. The sarcophagi are currently being transported for conservation in the Dahshur storehouse and will eventually be put on display at a series of new museums, disclosed Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The interesting thing about the painted mummies found at Dahshur is that they are, in fact, a lot younger than the ancient monument where they were put to rest. The White Pyramid in the Dahshur Necropolis was erected by King Amenemhat II, the third pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, who reigned in the early 19th century BC.
Since Amenemhat II died 3,800 years ago, this means that the newly discovered mummified remains are some 1,200 years younger than the pharaoh’s funerary monument.
The White Pyramid itself is now but a mere shadow of what it once was. Named for its white limestone blocks, the monument has been heavily quarried for stone over the years, as well as severely looted, and has been reduced to nothing more but a pile of rubble.
The somber fate of the White Pyramid was luckily not shared by the eight 2,500-year-old mummies, which remained protected deep underground. The excavation project that ultimately brought them to light began in August, said Waziri.
In the upcoming months, the ancient coffins will make their way to new museums in Hurghada and Sharm El-Shekh, which are scheduled to open soon, informs Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.
This incredible find comes only a week after archaeologists stumbled upon a perfectly preserved 3,000-year-old mummy in a nearby tomb in Luxor, as recently reported by the Inquisitr.