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New discovery in Thebes
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 21 - 02 - 2008

An ancient Egyptian sarcophagus from the Middle Kingdom has been unearthed in the Draa Abul-Naga necropolis on Luxor's west bank, reports Nevine El-Aref
Spanish excavators working at the tomb of Djehuty, overseer of works in Thebes during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut, have chanced upon a surprising discovery.
While they were excavating the floor of the open courtyard of the tomb, a well-preserved 11th Dynasty burial was uncovered, including the remains of a large wooden sarcophagus that was painted red and decorated with inscription along its sides mentioning the name of the deceased, Iker, and invocations to the goddess Hathor, mistress of the skies. In the sand surrounding the sarcophagus, five clay vessels were also unearthed, together with five wooden arrows, three of which still bore their original feathers.
"We don't know yet if any funerary objects are likely to be discovered, since the sarcophagus is blocking access to the inner part of the small recess used as a burial chamber," Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Al-Ahram Weekly, adding that removing the sarcophagus may be the only way to gain access to the burial site.
José M. Galàn, head of the Spanish mission, said the sarcophagus was now being restored and consolidated, as it had served as a base for termites.
He said that the sarcophagus and burial site were very important finds because of their early date (c. 2000 BC) and because there was little information about the First Intermediate Period in Thebes.
The discovery would enable archaeologists to understand the period and its remains in the area better, he said.


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