Egypt Has Unearthed 160 Ancient Coffins Since September. Some Were Sealed With a 'Curse' - Science world

This website is about the Latest NEWS and Updates from the world of Science, specifically from Physics, Astronomy, Quantum NASA, nature,space, Physics and Technology

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Egypt Has Unearthed 160 Ancient Coffins Since September. Some Were Sealed With a 'Curse'

 Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians were laid to rest in Saqqara, an ancient city of the dead. Priests placed them inside wooden boxes adorned with hieroglyphics, and also the sarcophagi were sealed and buried in tombs scattered above and below the sand.

Archaeologists have discovered 160 human coffins at the positioning over the last three months, which they commit to disperse to museums around Egypt. They even opened some to look at the mummies inside.

According to experts, a number of the Saqqara tombs have colorful curses inscribed on the walls to warn away intruders.

Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo, analyzed some animal mummies discovered at Saqqara last year.

She told Business Insider in an email that the inscribed warnings in human tombs mostly serve to discourage trespassers bent desecrating the mummies' resting places.

coffin 1A coffin found in Saqqara in September. (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)

"They generally state that if the tomb is entered by an impure person (probably in body and/or intention), then may the council of the gods punish the trespasser, and wring his or her neck like that of a goose," she wrote.

'Fear of seeing ghosts'

The specific Saqqara curse Ikram quoted was found within the tomb of the vizier Ankhmahor, a pharaoh's official who lived over 4,000 years ago, during Egypt's 6th dynasty. He was buried in a very mastaba: an above-ground tomb shaped sort of a rectangular box. Similar mastabas were built everywhere in Egypt, including near the Giza pyramids.

The curse meant to safeguard Ankhmahor, roughly translated, warns that anything a trespasser "might do against this, my tomb, the identical shall be done to your property." It also warns of the vizier's knowledge of secret spells and magic, and threatens to fill "impure" intruders with a "fear of seeing ghosts."

Curses like that were meant to discourage grave robbers, Ikram said.

In the new Netflix documentary "Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb," she explains that tombs were seen as houses for the dead in their afterlife.

"You wanted to own a wonderful afterlife, so you had a wonderful tomb," she says within the film, adding that a personality's tomb would be "decorated with all types of scenes of the life they need to enjoy for eternity."

So trespassers caught trying to steal valuables buried with the dead were punished during a manner commensurate to their crime, Ikram said.

Punishment for violating a noble's tomb, meanwhile, could carry with it beatings, and potentially the removal of a robber's nose, Ikram added. they'd even be required to return the transferred property.

However, the writings on Ankhmahor's tomb welcome those of pure and peaceful intention, saying that he will protect them within the court of Osiris, Lord of the Egyptian Underworld. Ancient Egyptians believed that Osiris judges dead souls before they pass into the afterlife.

Similar curses appear in an exceedingly few other tombs across Egypt, Ikram said, "with the bulk being recorded from the Old Kingdom" - between 2575 and 2150 BCE.

Not the mummy's curse from movies

The writings found in tombs like Ankhmahor's bear little resemblance to the mummy's curses depicted in horror movies, which frequently show unwitting archaeologists get killed by the undead after opening burial chambers.

Still, some members of the general public weren't keen to determine archaeologists open coffins that had been sealed for quite two millennia.



But Ikram said there's little risk of being contaminated with, say, ancient microbes or fungi by handling the mummies.

"If people wear gloves and masks, it should be fine," she said.

The idea that mummy tombs could contain dangerous pathogens took off partially after archaeologist Egyptologist unearthed King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922.

A member of Carter's expedition, its financial backer George Herbert died an odd, extra time six weeks after they opened King Tut's sepulture.

So some researchers wondered if the tomb had contained a sort of toxic mold that might have infected and killed him. This rekindled talk about a "mummy's curse," an idea writer Louisa May Alcott had explored 50 years earlier. But further research showed Herbert died of septicemia from an infected sting on his cheek.

Plus, the walls of King Tut's tomb were curse-free.

Carter never put any stock within the myth of a mummy's curse, dismissing it as "tommyrot." He lived to the age of 64, dying over 20 years after his fateful discovery.

 Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians were laid to rest in Saqqara, an ancient city of the dead. Priests placed them inside wooden boxes adorned with hieroglyphics, and also the sarcophagi were sealed and buried in tombs scattered above and below the sand.

Archaeologists have discovered 160 human coffins at the positioning over the last three months, which they commit to disperse to museums around Egypt. They even opened some to look at the mummies inside.

According to experts, a number of the Saqqara tombs have colorful curses inscribed on the walls to warn away intruders.

Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo, analyzed some animal mummies discovered at Saqqara last year.

She told Business Insider in an email that the inscribed warnings in human tombs mostly serve to discourage trespassers bent desecrating the mummies' resting places.

coffin 1A coffin found in Saqqara in September. (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities)

"They generally state that if the tomb is entered by an impure person (probably in body and/or intention), then may the council of the gods punish the trespasser, and wring his or her neck like that of a goose," she wrote.

'Fear of seeing ghosts'

The specific Saqqara curse Ikram quoted was found within the tomb of the vizier Ankhmahor, a pharaoh's official who lived over 4,000 years ago, during Egypt's 6th dynasty. He was buried in a very mastaba: an above-ground tomb shaped sort of a rectangular box. Similar mastabas were built everywhere in Egypt, including near the Giza pyramids.

The curse meant to safeguard Ankhmahor, roughly translated, warns that anything a trespasser "might do against this, my tomb, the identical shall be done to your property." It also warns of the vizier's knowledge of secret spells and magic, and threatens to fill "impure" intruders with a "fear of seeing ghosts."

Curses like that were meant to discourage grave robbers, Ikram said.

In the new Netflix documentary "Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb," she explains that tombs were seen as houses for the dead in their afterlife.

"You wanted to own a wonderful afterlife, so you had a wonderful tomb," she says within the film, adding that a personality's tomb would be "decorated with all types of scenes of the life they need to enjoy for eternity."

So trespassers caught trying to steal valuables buried with the dead were punished during a manner commensurate to their crime, Ikram said.

Punishment for violating a noble's tomb, meanwhile, could carry with it beatings, and potentially the removal of a robber's nose, Ikram added. they'd even be required to return the transferred property.

However, the writings on Ankhmahor's tomb welcome those of pure and peaceful intention, saying that he will protect them within the court of Osiris, Lord of the Egyptian Underworld. Ancient Egyptians believed that Osiris judges dead souls before they pass into the afterlife.

Similar curses appear in an exceedingly few other tombs across Egypt, Ikram said, "with the bulk being recorded from the Old Kingdom" - between 2575 and 2150 BCE.

Not the mummy's curse from movies

The writings found in tombs like Ankhmahor's bear little resemblance to the mummy's curses depicted in horror movies, which frequently show unwitting archaeologists get killed by the undead after opening burial chambers.

Still, some members of the general public weren't keen to determine archaeologists open coffins that had been sealed for quite two millennia.



But Ikram said there's little risk of being contaminated with, say, ancient microbes or fungi by handling the mummies.

"If people wear gloves and masks, it should be fine," she said.

The idea that mummy tombs could contain dangerous pathogens took off partially after archaeologist Egyptologist unearthed King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922.

A member of Carter's expedition, its financial backer George Herbert died an odd, extra time six weeks after they opened King Tut's sepulture.

So some researchers wondered if the tomb had contained a sort of toxic mold that might have infected and killed him. This rekindled talk about a "mummy's curse," an idea writer Louisa May Alcott had explored 50 years earlier. But further research showed Herbert died of septicemia from an infected sting on his cheek.

Plus, the walls of King Tut's tomb were curse-free.

Carter never put any stock within the myth of a mummy's curse, dismissing it as "tommyrot." He lived to the age of 64, dying over 20 years after his fateful discovery.

No comments:

Post a Comment