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The Discovery of the Valley of the Mummies

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The people started to build these tombs in 332 B.C., when the temple of Alexander the Great was built in this area. This temple is located about 1 km from the mummies and is one of the many temples in Egypt built for Alexander the Great. He is shown in the temple sanctuary giving an offering to the god Amon-Re and his cartouche is also shown. I think that Alexander went to Memphis through Bahariya; therefore, they honoured him by building this temple for him and Amon.

Mummification in this period reached its peak, contrary to what is claimed about the deterioration of mummification in the Roman period. The most important point about mummification is that they started to put sticks made of reeds on the right and left side of the mummy and cover the mummy with linen. This method made the mummy very stable and can last even longer that those mummies of the Pharaonic period.

The preparation of mummies was done inside a workshop, "Wabt." The god Anubis witnessed the entire process and behind the bed were the jars that have on top the four children of Horus.

According to Egyptian religious beliefs, the heart of the deceased will be placed on a scale and on the other side of the scale is the feather of "Maat," the goddess of truth. If the scale is not balanced, a huge animal is waiting to eat the deceased. But if it balanced, the god Horus will take the deceased to meet the god Osiris (god of the afterlife and agriculture) and the goddess Isis. Then the deceased will enjoy the life in the fields of paradise of the Egyptians.

I made two key decisions on the morning of my departure from Bahariya. The first was to move 5 mummies to a room within the Inspectorate of Antiquities: two female mummies, one man, and two children.

The second decision was to transport the mummy with linen to the X-ray lab in Cairo. The team was surrounding me, and the workmen were moving the tents. The conservators were wrapping the mummy and putting it inside a wooden box. The workmen put the mummy in the truck to go to Cairo.

Ashry Shaker asked me, how we are going to identify the mummy? I said: Mr. or Mrs. X.

The next day, I went to my office near the great pyramid and met with Dr. Azza Sari El Din, the X-ray expert. We went to the lab and saw the mummy. Aza brought the X- Ray, which revealed that this was Mr. X who died at the age of 35 without any disease.


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