Roman-era mummy found in Egyptian oasis

By | April 13, 2010

Egyptian archaeologists discovered an intricately carved plaster sarcophagus portraying a wide-eyed woman dressed in a tunic in a newly uncovered complex of tombs at a remote desert oasis, Egypt’s antiquities department announced Monday.

It is the first Roman-style mummy found in Bahariya Oasis some 186 miles (300 kilometers) southwest of Cairo, said archaeologist Mahmoud Afifi, who led the dig. The find was part of a cemetery dating back to the Greco-Roman period containing 14 tombs.

“It is a unique find,” he told The Associated Press, confirming that initial examinations indicate a mummy is inside the coffin.

The carved plaster sarcophagus is only 3 feet (1 meter) long and shows a woman wearing a long tunic, a headscarf, bracelet and shoes, as well as a beaded necklace. Colored stones in the sarcophagus’ eyes gave the appearance she is awake.

Afifi said they had not dated the new find yet, but the burial style indicated she belonged to Egypt’s long period of Roman rule lasting a few hundred years and starting 31 B.C.

He said his team first thought they had stumbled across a child’s tomb because of its diminutive stature, but the decorations and features indicated it was a woman.

Afifi said it was still unclear who the woman was but said it was most likely she was a wealthy and influential member of her society, judging by the effort taken on the sarcophagus. ….

via Roman-era mummy found in Egyptian oasis.

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