Encased in soil, this extraordinarily delicate face emerges into the sun for the first time in thousands of years.
(Photo courtesy of Jaen’s University)
The wooden sarcophagus was unearthed by archaeologists at the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan, Egypt. Believed to contain the body of a person of some rank, it boasts extraordinarily delicate features, well-preserved by the sands of time.
The piece was found by a team from the University of Jaen, in Spain, who have been carrying out digs at the site since 2008. Since starting a fresh excavation in January, they have also discovered 20 mummies and uncovered a tomb dating from around 1830BC. The dig is being led by Professor Alejandro Jiménez Serrano, who is working alongside 16 staff from Jaen, as well as universities in Granada and London. He said that his team came from a number of different disciplines which allowed a broad focus.
It had also allowed them ‘to develop new techniques such as RTI or scanning in 3D which helps read hieroglyphic texts with greater accuracy,’ he added. The team had already found two smaller tombs in earlier digs.
Qubbet el-Hawa necropolis was in use from 2250BC and provided a last resting place for some of the country’s most important officials.
A string of 40 tombs cut into a rocky cliff face, the burial ground also forms one of the best vantage points of the city of Aswan.