Archaeologists in Egypt have uncovered what is believed to be the world’s largest granite sarcophagus in Alexandria, measuring nearly nine feet long.
The enormous stone casket was buried alongside a massive alabaster head—most likely belonging to the tomb’s owner—more than 16 feet beneath the surface.
The massive stone casket was buried more than 16 feet beneath the surface alongside a huge alabaster head, likely belonging to the man who owned the tomb
The ancient coffin has reportedly remained untouched since its burial thousands of years ago during the Ptolemaic period, according to experts.
Researchers working under the Supreme Council of Antiquities discovered the ancient tomb during an excavation in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria.
The team was inspecting a resident’s land ahead of digs planned for the foundation of his building at Al-Karmili Street when they stumbled upon the remarkable Ptolemaic burial, 5 meters deep.
The Ptolemaic period lasted roughly 300 years, from 332 to 30 BCE, making this particular site more than 2,000 years old.
According to the archaeologists who led the dig, the black granite sarcophagus stands at 185 centimeters tall (6 feet), 265cm long (8.6 ft), and 165 cm wide (5.4 ft).
A layer of mortar identified between the lid and body of the stone coffin indicates it has not been opened since it was sealed off, says Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector.
However, just who is buried inside—and the identity of the man in the alabaster carving—remains a mystery. Back in May, the Antiquities Ministry announced the discovery of yet another Ptolemaic find.
The team unearthed the ruins of a huge Roman bath at the San El-Hagar archaeological site.
The massive stone casket was buried more than 16 feet beneath the surface alongside a huge alabaster head – likely belonging to the man who owned the tomb. Experts say the ancient coffin has remained untouched since its burial thousands of years ago
Alongside the 52-foot-long red brick structure, archaeologists also found pottery vessels, terracotta statues, bronze tools, a chunk of engraved stone, and a statue of a ram.
The most remarkable artifact, however, is among the smallest.
A gold coin depicting the face of King Ptolemy III, a 3rd-century BCE ruler said to be an ancestor of Cleopatra, was also discovered at the site.
According to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the coin was made during the reign of King Ptolemy IV, in memory of his father.
It measures 2.6 centimeters across and weighs roughly 28 grams. On the side opposite the portrait, letters translating to ‘Land of Prosperity’ were engraved, along with the name of the king.
The huge red brick building was likely part of a Greco-Roman era bath, says Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities.
It is roughly 16 meters long and 3.5 meters wide.
As work continues at the archaeological site, the researchers hope to uncover more details about the building and its function many centuries ago.
Excavations over the last few years have unearthed countless remarkable artifacts from ancient Egypt, which the country hopes will spur tourism to the area.