Untouched female grave found in the Valley of the Kings

Mummy preserved well in the sarcophagus

Untouched Grave: Wooden sarcophagus containing the mummy of a woman named Nehemes-Bastet. © University of Basel
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Archaeologists have found a surprise in the Egyptian Valley of the Kings. They discovered a grave in which two funerals took place at intervals of about 500 years. The approximately 3, 500-year-old tomb contains a sarcophagus with a well-preserved mummy of a woman and is only the second find in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922.

The new tomb is a single-chamber tomb accessible via a shaft. "This find provides valuable information on two different phases of use, " says Elina Grothe-Paulin from the Egyptology Department of the University of Basel.

Grave opening on January 12, 2012

At the top of the tomb, which opened on January 12, 2012, the scientists discovered a labeled wooden sarcophagus containing the mummy of a woman named Nehemes-Bastet. This probably comes from one of the influential families of the Amun priesthood and led the elite circles frequent priestly title of a singer of Amun. The Basel Egyptologists date this find to the time of the 22nd Dynasty (9th century BC).

Due to particularly happy circumstances, the grave was not robbed. This allowed the researchers to document the closure of the burial site and the original arrangement of the sarcophagus and a painted wooden stela. The very carefully wrapped mummy of about 1.55 meters tall woman is still intact in the sarcophagus.

Older funeral

The one-chamber grave hewn into the rock was used according to data of the archaeologists however obviously already before the funeral of Nehemes Bastet as burial place. The original burial, the researchers dated to the 18th Dynasty (1450 BC). This coincides with the beginning of the use of the Valley of the Kings as a necropolis. Remains of the first grave equipment, which was probably robbed in ancient times, are still below a layer of debris. display

University of Basel Kings' Valley Project

The archaeological research project headed by the Basel Egyptologist Professor Susanne Bickel has been researching the use of the Valley of the Kings by selected members of the elite and the royal family in the vicinity of the royal tombs since 2009.

The researchers at the University of Basel's Kings Project have discovered the tomb in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor in collaboration with the Egyptian authorities and local workers.

(University of Basel, 19.01.2012 - DLO)