July 1, 2010

Evidence Of Unfinished Tomb Found In Egypt

Egyptian archaeologists, who have been excavating an ancient secret tunnel for the past 3 years, believe it was meant to connect a 3,300-year-old pharaoh's tomb with a secret burial site, the antiquities department announced Wednesday.

The Egyptian team, led by antiquities chief Zahi Hawass, had been searching for the tunnel for more than two decades, Faruq Hosni said in a statement.

The 570-foot long tunnel in Pharaoh Seti I's tomb in southern Egypt's Valley of the Kings has taken Egyptian archaeologists 3 years to excavate. The tunnel was first discovered in 1960, but had not been completely cleared until recently. The team found ancient figurines, shards of pottery and instructions left by the architect for the workmen.

An inscription on a decorative false door in the passage read: "Move the door jamb up and make the passage wider." It was written in hieratic, a basic cursive version of hieroglyphics. Elsewhere in the tunnel were preliminary sketches of planned decorations, Hawass said.

"It appears that Seti I was trying to construct a secret tomb inside a tomb," Hawass told AFP.

Pharaoh Seti I (1314-1304 BC) was one of Egypt's greatest rulers and a fearsome military commander from the 19th dynasty. His tomb is the largest ever discovered in the Valley of the Kings, but archaeologists have yet to discover all of its mysteries.

Hawass hypothesized that the tunnel and the secret tomb remained unfinished due to the pharaoh's death


Image Caption: Dr. Hawass in one of the railcars used to transport rubble from the tunnel excavation (Photo: Yonathan Kellerman)


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