Egypt reveals more of its secrets as more tombs are opened

Several burial objects and a previously unopened sarcophagus have been unveiled for the first time on the west bank of Luxor, according to the Associated Press. A 13th century tomb belonging to a priest and his wife was found in Luxor, Egypt, after five months of excavation work, Egypt’s ministry of antiquities said Saturday. The relic was one of two coffins found earlier this month. The TT28 tomb, which belonged to a man called Huri, an ancient priest who would have been responsible for embalming the pharaohs, is in El-Asasef, Luxor, near the Valley of the Kings on the banks of the Nile.

A separate discovery by a French-led mission from the French Institute for Eastern Archaeology and the University of Strasbourg was unveiled on the same day. The sarcophagus contained a well-preserved mummy of a woman named Thuya from the 18th Egyptian dynasty. It’s the first time an ancient mummy has been opened in front of the press. Thuya’s sarcophagus dates to the 18th dynasty — a period marked by some of the most well-known pharaohs such as Ramses II and Tutankhamun.

“I am proud to have led this expedition. All those who worked on this discovery were Egyptians. The restoration expert, the excavator, the excavation technician and the one who documented, all are Egyptians’‘, said Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

“One sarcophagus was rishi-style, which dates back to the 17th dynasty, while the other sarcophagus was from the 18th dynasty,” said Egypt’s minister of antiquities, Khaled Al Anani, at the press conference, according to the Associated Press.

Egypt’s Antiquities Minister El-Enany, French Professor Colin and Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, attend the unveiling of an intact sarcophagus inside the tomb TT33 in Luxor. Photo: Reuters

Ancient Egyptians mummified humans to preserve their bodies for the afterlife. This year, Egypt revealed more than a dozen ancient discoveries including richly painted walls, skeletons, mummies, a papyrus scroll, two wooden statues, five colorful masks, and about 1,000 clay, faience, and wood Ushabti funerary figurines, believed to serve the dead in the afterlife.

At the press conference, the Ministry of Antiquities also announced the discovery of a nearby tomb called Thaw-Irkhet-if, dated to the Middle Kingdom, about 4,000 years ago, but reused during Egypt’s late period.

Egypt is hoping these discoveries will brighten its image abroad and revive interest among travelers who once flocked to its iconic pharaonic temples and pyramids, but shunned the country since its 2011 Tahrir Square uprising. Tourism in Egypt has seen a relative improvement in recent months, and archaeological discoveries are highly promoted to further boost the sector.