Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Location: Valle d'Aosta- Italy
|Posted: Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:29 pm Post subject: Cemetary uncovered from first intermediate by spanish team
|I found this article in the Egyptian Gazette, with many other interesting ones...
Beni Suif yields secrets of the ancients
By Hassan Saadallah
Certain aspects of ancient Egyptian civilisation are still mysteriously charming, prompting archaeologists to search more, in the hope of unveiling secrets of the ancients. Excavations across the country have never disappointed researchers. A few months ago, a find was made in Beni Suif that shed light on economic, social and health conditions in the First Intermediate period (2181-2055 BC).
A Spanish team working at Ihnasia (Heraclopolis) uncovered a cemetery that includes several tombs belonging to statesmen. The tombs are characterised by simplicity of architectural design as most of them are comprised of a single rectangular room with no burial wells.
The most important of these tombs belongs to Khete who was supervisor of farms and carrier of the seals of Lower Egypt. It seems that the tomb was used for the burial of his wife, Merit, as well who was the king's hairdresser.
Inside the tomb there were two stone stele representing the illusionary door(a special door for the spirit of the deceased from which it enters into the tomb on resurrection) in addition to an altar.
Two of the tombs on the site had domed ceilings. The first, rectangular in shape 1 x 3.20 metres, embraced human remains. The second was smaller, about 2.10 x 60cm, and included a large quantity of pottery and human remains. However, the two had canobian pots in which the intestines of the deceased were kept and buried alongside. The lids of the pots took the shape of the four sons of Horus. Emsti for guarding the liver, Habi for guarding the lungs, Duamut Af for guarding the abdomen and King Snof Ef for guarding the intestines.
The tomb is distinguished for the funerary complex of the secretary and only friend of the king although inscriptions on the wall did not mention his name. The complex comprises a stone tomb, a chapel and a sacrifice room. The inscriptions represent the deceased in the company of gods. Another drawing shows him standing in front of pots containing the seven sacred oils which the dead made use of in the afterlife. Another drawing shows a lyre player which is one of the traditional funerary scenes in ancient Egyptian art.
The chapel is very small and situated in the northeastern angle of the tomb. It was found to include many earthen pots. The sacrifice room was found to have many stone stele of the illusionary door and bear relief inscriptions that mentions Osoris the god of the afterworld and Anobis the god of cemeteries. A number of shabti statues made of faience representing the priest Ipi were found in the room.
The Spanish work team has conducted anthropological studies on the human remains they discovered to determine the health of the deceased before they died and the kind of diseases that afflicted the ancients. The studies revealed that the people of that age were from l60 to l70 cm tall and that they had strong physiques, especially males, as the bones and muscles were large. The average age, according to the study, was between 40 to 45. Symptoms of diseases as brucella fever, TB, leprosy and syphilis were traced .
As explained by Dr Abdul Halim Nureddin, Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology at Fayyoum, the First intermediate Age to which the cemetery belongs is a transitory stage between the Old and the Middle Kingdom.It was known for prevailing anarchy owing to the weakness of ruling kings.