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Researchers Uncover Significant Evidence Of The 17th Dynasty Of Ancient Egypt

April 6, 2013
Image Credit: Spanish National Research Council

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

Archaeologists from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have discovered the burial sites of four individuals from the 17th dynasty of ancient Egypt, including one they believe belongs to the son of one of the first kings of that era.

The individuals would have lived approximately 3,550 years ago, and their gravesites were discovered on the hill of Dra Abu el-Naga in what is now Luxor but what was formerly the ancient settlement of Thebes.

The expedition was part of the Djehuty Project — the first Spanish archaeological expedition to study an Egyptian tomb. It was led by CSIC researcher José Manuel Galán of the Institute of Mediterranean and funded by Unión Fenosa Gas and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, the organization said Friday in a statement.

Their discovery will help researchers learn more about a little-known historical period during which Thebes became the capital of the Egyptian kingdom, and the empire established their dominance over neighboring nations like Syria, Palestine and Nubia. The 17th dynasty was part of an era known as the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt, which lasted from 1800 and 1550 BC, according to the CSIC.

One of the four tombs belonged to an individual known as Intefmose. Three inscriptions found in that tomb (including one that was accompanied by a portrait in relief) referred to Intefmose as the “son of the king.” Galán said that he and his teams believe that this individual “could be the son of Sobekemsaf, one of the first kings of the 17th Dynasty, about whom we barely have historical information.”

Intefmose´s tomb consisted of a small chapel made out of adobe bricks that had been built in front of an approximately seven-meter deep shaft-grave. That shaft leads to a burial chamber, and a hole at the back of that room led to the burial chamber of a second tomb, which was discovered during the expedition.

That second tomb belonged to Ahhotep, a high-ranking official also known as the “spokesman of Nekhen.” According to Galán, three clay figurines known as shabtis were found there, and each had been painted and bore Ahhotep´s name.

“Two of these shabtis were found inside of both small clay sarcophagi, decorated with an inscription on the sides and on the top. The third one was wrapped in nine linen fabrics, as if it was a real mummy, and each of the fabrics had traces of writing in black ink,” the expedition leader explained. “These figurines have a very original and naïf style, which provides them a special charm and a unique character.”

Galán and his colleagues also found the intact coffin of an unidentified boy that lived during the 17th dynasty, as well as shabtis and funerary linens belonging to prince Ahmose-Sapair, who lived in the time between the 17th and 18th Egyptian dynasties. According to the archaeologists, these findings confirm that Dra Abu el-Naga hill served as the burial grounds for the Egyptian royal family of both of those dynasties.


Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online



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