April 12, 2010

Greco-Roman Tombs Discovered In Egypt

The future home of an Egyptian youth center became a hotbed of archaeology as diggers unearthed 14 tombs dating back to the third century BC, including one with a female mummy decorated in jewelry.

The Greco-Roman tombs, located in the Bahariya Oasis 190 miles southwest of Cairo, were discovered during probes that indicated they may be part of a large necropolis, Egypt's Culture Ministry said in statement on Monday.

The female mummy -- about 38 inches tall -- was found in the stair-lined interior of one of the tombs, cast in colored plaster inlaid with jewelry and eyes.

The archaeologists also found other treasures as well. "Early investigations uncovered four anthropoid masks made of plaster, a gold fragment decorated with engravings of the four sons of Horus, and a collection of coins, and clay and glass vessels," the statement said.

The four sons of Horus -- Imsety, Duamutef, Hapi and Qebehsenuef -- were ancient Egyptian gods. The engravings show that Egyptian religion was carried well into the Greco-Roman era. The gods were believed to protect the stomach, liver, intestines and lungs of mummified bodies.

Bahariya Oasis is home to Egypt's famed Valley of the Golden Mummies, where a collection of 17 tombs with about 254 mummies was discovered in 1996.

The current site has been turned over to Egypt's antiquities authority.