Archaeologists in Egypt have found 18 human remains inside a newly excavated tomb at a site in Abydos. Experts say that the tomb is around 3,300 years old dating back to the time of Tutankhamen.
Along with the human remains, the elaborately decorated tomb contained an empty sandstone sarcophagus that was painted red. Archeologists say that the empty sarcophagus might be made for the body of Horemheb, an ancient scribe. The sarcophagus also contained hieroglyphs from the Book of the Dead, which are usually added to a sarcophagus to help the dead enter the afterlife. Aside from the hieroglyphs, the sarcophagus also had depictions of various Egyptian gods. The researchers who found tomb believe that ancient grave robbers ransacked the site at least twice throughout history.
"Originally, all you probably would have seen would have been the pyramid and maybe a little wall around the structure just to enclose everything," Kevin Cahail, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania and the tomb's lead excavator, told Live Science. "[The pyramid] probably would have had a small mortuary chapel inside of it that may have held a statue or a stela giving the names and titles of the individuals buried underneath."
Within the tomb, the archeologists found the bodies of around 10 to 12 women, around 3 to 4 men and the skeletons of at least 2 children. The skeletons inside the tomb were individuals who belonged to two families. Along with the skeletons, the archeologists also found a number of ushabti figurines. Experts say that the figurines were placed in the tomb to represent the dead. Due to the fact that the females outnumbered the males, researchers believe that the individuals inside the tomb practiced polygamy. Men having multiple wives were rather commonplace among ancient Egyptian nobility.
The tomb is located approximately 7 miles to the west of the Nile River in the site known as Abydos. In the past, the tomb once had a 23-foot pyramid right at the entrance. Today however, only the base of the pyramid remains. The base also serves as the tomb's entrance. Excavation on the tomb began during the summer of last year.
While Horemheb may have been a scribe, he did have ties with the Eyptian military at the time. These connections may have allowed him to afford the construction of a relatively elaborate tomb.