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The Discovery of the Valley of the Mummies

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I looked at a corner and found two very interesting mummies. A lady lay beside her husband, her head turned towards her husband in an expression of love and affection. It seems that her husband died before his wife. She must have asked the family to bury her near him where she could look at him forever.

There were artifacts scattered everywhere near the mummies, such as statues of women in mourning. They are posed raising their hands up in the air, in the same manner as is done after the death of a person. We also found earrings, bracelets with different amulets, and many different style of pottery, including food trays and wine jars. We also found many Ptolemaic coins, the most interesting of which is a coin depicting Cleopatra VII. I gave directions on the cleaning, photography, and conservation of all the mummies.

I moved to square No 2 and met with Mahmoud Afifi, my assistant. We started the cleaning of cartonage on the chest. I asked Afifi to continue the excavations and clear the other mummies in this square. I took the brush and cleaned each space in the mummy; then began the written description of this mummy.

It is a mummy of a man, completely wrapped in linen with a waistcoat covered with cartonage. Both the mask and waistcoat are covered with a thin layer of gold. The face is long and seems to depict a fifty-year-old man. The crown includes a fillet worn across the forehead. It is decorated and inlaid with many different colours such as blue, dark red and turquoise. On the right and left sides of the crown are scenes of plants and also depictions of the goddesses Isis and Nephthys who protect the deceased with their wings.

The waistcoat decoration is moulded in bas relief. The decoration is organized in three distinct sections. The central section, beginning from the chin, is separated from the other sections, flanking it with two inlaid with colours such as turquoise, dark red and blue in a design that recalls the crown.

The linear decoration of the central section begins at the top with a horizontal line coloured blue and red. The band is beautifully inlaid with small squares decorated with a lotus flower and a fine geometrical scene of three rectangular pieces, possibly representing precious stones.

Beneath this decorative band the first register presents a winged human figure that could represented the Ba (soul) of the deceased. Others believed that it represents the goddess Nut (the goddess of the Sky). Within the second register are two children of Horus, Imesty and Dewa-Mautef. As we know in the pharaonic period, Imesty is connected with Isis while Dewa-Mautef is connected with the goddess Nut.

Eight small circles decorated a band separating the children of Horus from the next register, which depicts a seated bird figure. This bird may represent the Ka as leaving the body. Below the bird is a series of Triangles creating a decorative band.

Decoration bordering the mummy's left side is divided into four registers. The first scene at the top shows one of the children of Horus, Hapy, with Nephthys. Imesty follows in the second register. The third register shows Hapy and Imesty as standing figures. The last register contains a recumbent Anubis holding the key to the cemetery.

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