Archaeologists unearth host of ancient Egyptian monuments in Luxor, Aswan
Courtesy: Antiquities Ministry

Archaeologists have unearthed several ancient monuments in Luxor and Aswan, among them 6,000-year-old slab of Neolithic rock art, which was excavated at Aswan’s Qubbet al-Hawa necropolis alongside a 3,900-year-old funerary chamber. An alabaster statue of Queen Tiye was discovered in Luxor.

A team of German archaeologists from the university of Bonn excavated the rock art, believed to date back to the fourth millennium BC, which depicts a hunter with a bow, a dancing man raising his arms and an ostrich standing between them. The team’s chief archaeologist, Ludwig Morenz, told Science Daily on Wednesday that it clearly depicts the archer hunting the bird, while the second man can be identified as a hunt dancer.

According to the team’s findings, although the rock art was created nearly 900 years before the emergence of ancient Egypt’s first dynasty, it resembles later Egyptian art in terms of its style and iconography. However, they report it is clearly pre-Egyptian in terms of its presentation and motif.

Although the images have faded due to their age, they are still discernible as they were engraved into the rock.

The team has been conducting excavations at the Qubbet al-Hawa necropolis since 2015.

According to a statement published by the Antiquities Ministry on Wednesday another discovery was recently unearthed at the same necropolis by a team of Spanish archaeologists. They excavated what they believe to be the burial chamber of a nobleman, along with funerary ornaments and his mummified remains.

The statement reports that the chamber, discovered by researchers from the university of Jaen, was largely intact. The name of the nobleman, Shemai, is inscribed on the wall and his mummy is currently being analyzed.

Shemai is reported to be the younger brother of Sarenput II, who lived around 3,900 years ago and was a well known provincial governor during the 12th Dynasty (circa 1990 BC – 1800 BC) of ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom. Sarenput II served as nomarch, or governor, during the reigns of kings Senusret II (reigned circa 1897 BC to 1878 BC) and Senusret III (reigned circa 1878 BC to 1839 BC.) Both Shemai’s father, and his eldest brother (Sarenput II) were governors of the Elephantine province.

The team previously unearthed the sarcophagus and mummified remains of Sarenput II’s daughter, in May 2016.

Chief archaeologist Alejandro Jiménez Serrano stated that Shemai’s mummy is covered with a polychrome cartonnage (a mask typically made of layers of linen or papyrus covered in plaster). According to Serrano, the tomb was equipped with a host of funerary items including pottery, a set of wooden models representing funerary boats and scenes depicting daily activities.

A wide array of ancient tombs, artifacts, artworks and physical remains have been unearthed in the Qubbet al-Hawa necropolis since 2008, when the archaeological team from the University of Jaén began conducting excavations.

A third discovery was made by a German-led team of archaeologists working in Luxor, according to an Antiquities Ministry statement issued on Thursday. They excavated a detailed, 3,400-year-old statue believed to depict Queen Tiye, who was the grandmother of King Tutankhamun and mother of King Akhenaton.

Alabaster statue, believed to depict Queen Tiye - Courtesy: Antiquities Ministry

Queen Tiye (born circa 1398 BC, died circa 1338 BC) lived during the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom, and was the wife of King Amenhotep III (reigned circa 1388 BC – 1350 BC).

According to the statement the alabaster statue, which has retained some of its original color, was excavated near the funerary temple of King Amenhotep III, located at the Kom al-Hitan archaeological site on the west bank of the Luxor Governorate.

Quoting the Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany, the statement claims that the discovery is “important, wonderful, and unique.” It states that if if the statue does depict Queen Tiye, it will be the first discovered to be made of alabaster. All other monuments discovered of Queen Tiye have been made of quartzite.

The chief archaeologist leading the excavation, Hourig Sourouzian, stated that the statue was discovered by chance, while her team was hauling a massive statue of King Amenhotep III off the ground. The alabaster artifact was reportedly buried in the earth, under the right leg of the king’s statue.

According to Sourouzian the statue is in relatively good condition, but requires some reparation and restoration work.


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