Mysterious royal tomb found in Egypt

(ORDO NEWS) — A group of Polish archaeologists working in the ancient Egyptian city of Berenice have unearthed an elite tomb with a large number of luxurious artifacts. This tomb is called royal by researchers.

Nauka w Polsce tells about the discovery. It was made in Berenice, a city founded in the third century BC by Pharaoh Ptolemy II. Initially, this port was used for transshipment of African elephants.

In the first century AD, the Romans, who established power over Egypt, made the city an important center of transoceanic trade that linked Africa, the Middle East and India.

As for the tomb, it is elite in all its characteristics. Its peculiarity was that inside archaeologists found not one body, but seven skeletons located nearby.

According to experts, these were representatives of the Berenice elite. The skeletons look as if the dead were buried in a crooked position – the legs rest against the chest.

“This is not a natural position,” says study leader Dr. Mariusz Gwiazda of the Center for Mediterranean Archeology at Warsaw University.

This burial practice led scientists to the idea that the dead could not be the ancient Egyptians in the sense we know.

According to Gvyazda, in the second century BC, Agatarchides of Cnidus described the burial customs of the tribes of the Eastern Desert. One such method involved tying rope around the bodies to give them a crooked position.

Archaeologists have not yet been able to determine whether the bodies were interred at the same time or whether they were periodically added to the tomb as part of later subburials.

However, there is no doubt that they were all important people. This is indicated by the many luxurious artifacts found inside. It is noteworthy that a significant part of these items were brought from distant countries, which only increased their value.

Thus, among the objects found, beads made from materials brought from the territory of modern Pakistan, India and Indonesia stand out. In particular, these were onyx and carnelian.

In addition, the deceased were accompanied on their last journey by silver rings and earrings, ivory bracelets. Moreover, the rings were made in the style characteristic of the tribes that inhabited the areas of the Egyptian-Sudanese border.

A platform with bowls for offerings and an altar with a censer were also found. Next to it, archaeologists found the bones of goats or sheep, probably sacrificed, and several amphoras turned upside down. According to researchers, this means that the vessels were emptied during ritual ceremonies.

Dr. Gvyazda noted that very similar to the found tombs of the same period were previously discovered during excavations on the territory of the most powerful states of antiquity – Upper Egypt and Nubia. And there this type of burial is called royal.

The tomb in Berenike dates from the fourth to the sixth century AD, that is, its age is about 1500 years. At that time, Berenice was inhabited by the Blemians – independent of the power of other Mediterranean empires, but a little-known nomadic Nubian tribe.

This people inhabited the hilly Eastern Desert, and from the fourth to the sixth centuries controlled the territory east of the Nile – from modern Ethiopia to Berenice.

“The burial customs of the Bereniki community are still shrouded in mystery, and we wanted to fill this gap,” concludes Dr. Gvyazda.


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