3,000-year-old tomb of female singer found in Egypt

Valley of the Kings- where the tomb was discovered. Image: Shutterstock

Swiss archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a female singer dating back almost 3,000 years in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.

The rare find was made accidently by a team from Switzerland’s Basel University headed by Elena Pauline-Grothe and Susanne Bickel near Luxor. The upper edge of the tomb was found on the first day of the Egyptian Revolution in January, 2011. Due to the situation, it was immediately covered with an iron door and kept quiet. The discovery was officially announced almost a year after its initial discovery by Mansour Boraik, head of the SCA in Luxor, and Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of State for Antiquities in Cairo.

From the texts on the stela — a carved stone generally used as a commemorative tablet — and coffin, it appears that the burial belongs to Nehemes-Bastet, a singer for the supreme deity Amon Ra during the Twenty-Second Dynasty (945-712 BC). Her father was a priest in Karnak. According to Pauline-Grothe, the tomb was not originally built for the singer, but was reused for her 400 years after the original one. Archaeologists do not know whom the tomb was originally intended for.

The tomb has only one room, containing this single sarcophagus adorned with yellow hieroglyphs and decorations. The researchers believe that an even older burial, from the 15th century BC, lies beneath almost one metre of debris that sits under the coffin. The tomb is only the second found in the Valley of the Kings since the discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922, and is referred to as KV64 in the naming system used to label tombs in the Valley. It is one of a cluster of tombs without any wall decoration found near the royal tomb of Thutmoses III.

Until now the only tombs found in the historic valley were those linked to ancient Egyptian royal families. The discovery is important because “it shows that the Valley of the Kings was also used for the burial of ordinary individuals and priests of the Twenty-Second Dynasty,” said Ibrahim.

Source: New Scientist

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