Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Short Sharp Science - Singing mummy found in Valley of the Kings

Flora Graham, deputy editor, newscientist.com

She sang the praises of the god Amun in the 9th century BC - now she lies in a black wooden coffin in the Valley of the Kings.
According to a brightly coloured inscription at the foot of her grave, this rare 3000-year-old mummy is Nehemes-Bastet, a singer for Amun and the daughter of a priest in Karnak, near Luxor, where the tomb was found.
It's the first time a mummy that isn't linked to the ancient Egyptian royal families has been found in the valley, home of Tutankhamun's tomb.
Archaeologists discovered the mummy after seeing traces of the tomb's entrance on 25 January 2011, at the start of the Egyptian revolution. "Due to the situation, it was immediately covered with an iron door," writes Susanne Bickel, of the University of Basel, Switzerland, in her account of the discovery. The team returned just this month to reveal what lay beneath.
The tomb has only one room, containing this single sarcophagus adorned with yellow hieroglyphs and decorations. However, the researchers believe that an even older burial, from the 15th century BC, lays beneath almost 1 metre of debris that sits under the coffin.

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