Mummy portraits discovered in Egypt for the first time in 112 years

(ORDO NEWS) — The archaeological mission of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt, conducting excavations in Garza, discovered a large burial structure and Fayum portraits – the so-called images of mummies, which were last found at the beginning of the last century.

A brief report on the discovery is published on the website of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Important discoveries have been made at the Garza archaeological site, where excavations have been ongoing since 2016. During the last field season, a large burial building was discovered.

It was built from large stone blocks. The building contains numerous burial chambers, including those carved into the rock and lined with stone.

It is noteworthy that the floor in this building was covered with lime mortar and colored floor tiles resembling a chessboard in their coloring.

During the excavations, archaeologists also found a large number of luxuriously decorated wooden coffins, the iconography of which is made in traditional ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek styles. However, the Fayum portraits were the most curious discovery.

So it is customary to call the portraits of the owners of sarcophagi, made on wooden boards in a naturalistic way.

In fact, these are accurate portraits of the mummified citizens of Ancient Egypt, who belonged to the upper class. The practice of creating such portraits became widespread in the Roman period of Egyptian history.

Despite the fact that this type of art was quite popular in its time, Fayum portraits remained elusive for a long time. The described discovery is the first in the last 112 years.

The Fayum portraits were previously found by the British archaeologist Flinders Petrie during excavations in Khawara in 1887 and 1910-1911.

Also in the same period of time, similar portraits were discovered in the “tomb of Alina”, excavated by the German archaeologist von Kaufmann.

Naturalistic portraits of mummies were named after the city of Fayum, which was founded during the period of the Old Kingdom.

It was the center of worship for the crocodile-like deity Sobek. The city was renamed several times – its first name was Shedet, then – Fayum, and under Ptolemy – Evergetis. Later the city was renamed Arsinoe.

Interestingly, the aforementioned village of Garza was known in antiquity as the village of Philadelphia. The fact is that it was founded in the third century BC as part of an agricultural reclamation project conceived and implemented by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (309-246 BC).


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