A silver mask is plated with gold was found on the face of the mummy. Credit: University of Tübingen, Ramadan B. Hussein
A silver mask plated with gold, a mummification workshop, mummies and sarcophagi have been discovered in a tomb complex in Saqqara, Egypt, an Egyptian-German team announced this morning (14 July).
The complex contains several burial shafts dug into the ground, some of them extending more than 100 feet (30 meters) deep, the team said in a statement.
At least some of the finds date back to around 2,500 years, including the silver mask, which dates to sometime between 664 B. C. and 404 B. C., the statement said.
The eyes of the mask contain calcite, obsidian and a black gemstone. [Photos: Ancient Egyptian General Tomb Discovered in Saqqara]
“The find of this mask would be a sensation,” Ramadan Badry Hussein, the head of the Egyptian-German team, from the University of Tübingen in Germany, said in the statement. “Very few masks of precious metals have been preserved to the present day, because the tombs of the most ancient Egyptian dignitaries were looted in antiquity.”
The mask was found on the face of a mummy hidden inside a heavily-damaged wooden coffin with an image of a goddess named Mut. The writing on the chest that are still legible, the researchers say that the man was a priest who served Mut.
The archaeologists also found the remains of what they think is a mummification workshop, a place where people were mummified for burial, in the tomb complex. It contains bowls and beakers, which are the names of oils and other substances used for mummificationwritten on them. In the workshop, they also discovered two large basins that were probably used for drying mummies with natron and to prepare bandages that would be used to wrap them, ” the statement said.
The workshop is in the remains of a building made of mudbrick and limestone. This building above is a large shaft that leads to different chambers holding mummies, sarcophagi, alabaster containers (used to store the organs of the deceased) and shabti figurines — the Egyptians believed these figures could act as servants for the deceased in the afterlife.
Excavation and mapping of the tomb complex are ongoing. The research is funded by the German Research Foundation. Many of the team, the German researchers from the University of Tübingen.
Originally published on Live Science.