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More Mummies Discovered In Egypt


CAIRO - Archaeologists working in an oasis city in Egypt's western desert have found 11 more mummies, including one of a three-year-old boy whose gold mask portrays him crying, officials said.

"It is the first time a mask was drawn with this rare expression, which indicates that his parents (who were buried with him) died before him," the excavation leader, Zahi Hawas, said.

The mummies dating back 1,800 years were discovered in tombs at the Greco-Roman-era necropolis in the Bahariya oasis city of Bawiti, where 300 mummies have been found since 1999. The area may contain 10,000 mummies.

The newfound mummies, all belonging to one family, are more important than those found previously in Bawiti because the masks "depict the exact features of the face," Hawas said.

One mask portrayed a woman with pink flesh tones, a long nose, thin lips smacked with rouge, and wide eyes set off by mascara.





The artwork "also shows the level of wealth in the area which thrived on alcohol distilled from dates," Hawas said.

In the vicinity, they also discovered the tombs of the parents of the governor of the Bahariya oasis, who were buried around 500 years before the Christian era during the 26th Pharaonic dynasty, Hawas said.

Archeologists will open the coffin of the father of the governor in a few days and continue the search for other members of the family.

Last May, antiquities officials reported the discovery of the tomb of the governor inside a humanoid stone sarcophagus.According to inscriptions on the coffin, the governor fulfilled several roles, including priest, for various pharaonic deities.

The vast cemetery, spreading over two square miles within the city of Bawiti, dates back to the Greco-Roman era (330 BC to 400 AD) and is situated around 375 km southwest of Cairo.

The mummies were buried when the oasis was home to 500,000 people, at a time when Egypt's population was seven million, according to Hawas, who is the director of antiquities at the Giza pyramids.


From AFP|Published

(This news update is courtesy of News Service,  which has a complete daily news service from around the world)

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