eleven tombs thus far excavated in the vast cemetery
found in Baharia Oasis can give us much information
concerning the burial practices of Ancient Egypt during
the Greek and Roman periods. Some unique burial styles
may be found here. One type has a mummy placed inside
pottery coffins. They are not well burned and the coffin
has a human face. There are other anthropoid coffins
with a cylindrical shape. Other burials in mudbrick
mastabas have a rectangular shape.
For the first time, we can see from this excavation
that we have many different styles of mummies. These
include the mummy that is completely covered with linen
and the mummies covered with cartonnage that are colored
from the head to the feet. The cartonnage has scenes
representing the mummy on the mummification bed. Anubis
is performing the mummification process, and the cobra
protects the deceased.
The second style of mummy is covered with linen with
a mask of gypsum placed on the face, which has beautiful
colors. The mask has the same types of scenes.
The third style of mummy has the mask of gold with scenes
of the gods, including Thoth of wisdom, Anubis, Horus
and the four sons of Horus. On other mummies, the mask
covered his head. This is found only on the mummies
The last style includes mummies covered with linen only
and without cartonnage or masks.
This season, we were able to move the x-ray machine
to the site, and we prepared a room for the machine.
We brought many mummies to x-ray. We had Dr Aiman with
us to do the analysis. We found evidence of many diseases,
such as a man who died at the age of forty with cancer.
Another mummy showed that the deceased suffered sinusitis,
which likely caused him to have headaches. One man's
right leg is longer than his left. One lady reached
the age of seventy and had lost most of her teeth. Her
backbone was also bent. It is important to notice that
there are a large percentage of deaths among children
and young people. One mummy was estimated to be about
two years at the age of death, and also had cancer.
One young boy, about a year and a half old, was placed
under the x-ray, where we found that they had put on
his forehead a gold crown of cobras with wings. On another
mummy of a child, we discovered two amulets beside his
The tombs contained many artifacts, in particular, funerary
items, such as offerings given to the deceased on religious
occasions, including wine, dates, figs, beans and olives.
There was funerary equipment to assure the perpetuation
of the deceased in the afterlife. These included pottery
vessels. There was jewellery, including necklaces, earrings,
and bracelets made of pottery, bronze, ivory, wood,
glass and faience. There were statues such as motherhood
statues and animal statues, to be used as children's
toys as well as statues of mourning women. We also found
coins made of bronze and placed in the hand of the deceased
to give as payment to the ferryman who will transfer
the deceased into the afterlife.
The most beautiful artifact that was discovered is a
stela on the feet of mummy number 7. This is a lady
who is covered with linen in a beautiful design, and
then buried in a wooden coffin. The stela on her feet
is incredibly beautiful. It is made of wood and represents
the eternal gate of the deceased. The lady is depicted
in the middle of the gate as if she is leaving or going
to her resurrection. She wears a Roman dress typical
of this period. She is depicted with her right leg in
front, as if she is departing the coffin after being
resurrected. The sides of the stela are decorated with
cobras. The stela, in the form of a temple fašade, is
also decorated with cobras at the top. There are twelve
cobras with the winged sundisk, and below them, the
deceased is represented. It is a masterpiece!
excavation revealed much information about life and
death of the Egyptians who lived in Baharia during the
Greek and Roman periods, since 332 BC. The reason that
the people were buried in this place is because they
wanted to be near the Temple of Alexander the Great.
I feel that Alexander the Great stopped at Baharia Oasis
on his return from Siwa, where he visited the oracle
Temple of Amun. Many people believed that he returned
The cemetery is big, and I believe that it may contain
at least 10,000 mummies. The people became rich through
the exportation of wine to the Nile Valley since pharaonic
times. Egyptian texts mention that the wine from Baharia
Baharia was also important to the Egyptians because
it functioned as a border of Egypt. The Egyptians caught
a spy sent by the Hyksos about 37,000 years ago. They
sent the spy to contact the Nubians in the south. From
then on, the Egyptians began to protect this western
border of Egypt.
I believe that this excavation will open a new era for
the archaeology of Egypt, and this site will enrich
our knowledge of the importance of Baharia.