The Spanish archaeological team from the University of Barcelona and the Institute of the Ancient Near East, led by Dr. Maite Mascort Roca and Dr. Esther Pons Mellado, discovered several tombs from the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, along with Roman-era mummies, during their excavations in the archaeological site of El-Bahnasa, in the Minya Governorate.

Dr. Mustafa Waziri, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that the discovered Roman-era tombs were located in the eastern part of the Upper Cemetery of El-Bahnasa. These tombs feature a new burial style, directly excavated into the natural rock below the ground.

Terracotta figurines representing goddesses such as Isis and Aphrodite with floral crowns were also found for the first time in El-Bahnasa. This suggests that the area still holds many secrets about the funeral rituals of different historical periods.

Dr. Adel Okasha, the head of the Central Administration of Antiquities in Central Egypt, mentioned that the mission also found papyrus fragments inside a clay seal, as well as numerous mummies wrapped in colorful bandages, some adorned with golden and painted funeral masks.

Inside the mouths of two mummies, golden tongues were discovered, a known funeral practice from the Roman era in El-Bahnasa to preserve the deceased’s ability to speak.

Dr. Gamal Samostawi, the Director-General of Antiquities in Central Egypt, described the funerary architecture consisting of stone wells closed with brick doors leading to large chambers with empty sarcophagi and others sealed with mummies wrapped in colored cartonnage.

Additionally, 23 mummies without sarcophagi and four anthropomorphic ones were uncovered, including one with two mummies and small votive perfume bottles.

Dr. Hassan Aamer, a professor of Archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology at the University of Cairo and the director of the mission’s excavations, reported the discovery of stone blocks decorated with plant motifs, grape clusters, and representations of animals and birds such as doves and cobras. These artifacts originated from a demolished building.

He added that the mission will continue working at the site in future campaigns to reveal more secrets.


Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities of Egypt

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