Rare find in ancient Egypt reveals faces of mummies buried nearly 2,000 years ago
PORTRAITS of two mummies have recently been discovered, the Egyptian government has announced.
Egyptian archaeologists made the find at the Gerza excavation site in Fayoum, Egypt, about 75 miles southwest of Cairo.
The two color works of art, also known as the “Fayum portraits”, are the first of their kind to be discovered in more than a century.
For this reason, they are among the “most important archaeological discoveries that have been found during the current season,” Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a translated statement.
Adel Okasha, head of Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, noted that the team had found the portraits in a funeral home “with a floor of colored lime mortar and decorated with interchangeable tiles”.
Other artifacts discovered at the site include mummies, papyri, pottery and coffins, all dating from the Ptolemaic period (305-30 BCE) to the Roman period (30 BCE-390 CE ).
The coffins featured a number of different styles, “some of them in human form and some in Greek form with a gable roof”, according to Dr. Bassem Jihad, supervisor of the central training unit and head of the mission.
Also found inside one of the wooden coffins was a rare terracotta statue of the goddess Isis Aphrodite.
Dr Jihad pointed out that the mission started excavation work at the Gerza site in 2016.
Since then, archaeologists have discovered numerous fixed and mobile archaeological finds dating from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD.
“Among these models are 6 huge mud-brick tombs that represent mass graves in the style of the catacombs,” the statement reveals.
The results highlighted the importance of socio-economic status during the time of ancient Egypt.
“What has been discovered at the site illustrates the diversity and difference in the accuracy and quality of the mummification process during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras,” the MOTA statement said.
“which indicates the economic level of the deceased, ranging from high-quality mummification to simple nature burials,” he continues.