Archaeologists were surprised by the quality and quantity of finds, among which statuettes of women sacrificed stood out.
The funeral temple of Hatshepsut in Deir el-Bahri was built during the reign of the female pharaoh Hatshepsut, who belonged to the XVIII dynasty of Ancient Egypt. The temple is located opposite the city of Luxor and is considered a masterpiece of ancient architecture, writes Heritage Daily.
Since 1961, the efforts of the Polish-Egyptian archaeological expedition have focused on the preservation of the temple, and later work was carried out by a group of scientists from the Center for Mediterranean Archeology at the University of Warsaw.
In the course of their research, archaeologists were engaged in the reconstruction of the Hathor chapel. To protect this structure from possible collapse, they descended into a rock-cut tomb, which has remained intact since it was first documented by Edouard Naville in the 19th century. It had a 15-meter corridor and a burial chamber.
“We were worried that our work could lead to the collapse of the ceiling of the tomb, so we wanted to protect it. However, when we entered it, we realized that excavations had not yet been carried out, since the chamber and corridor were littered with rubble,” said the scientists …
Having begun clearing, among a ton of construction debris, archaeologists have discovered several hundred artifacts belonging either to the Middle Kingdom, when the tomb was built, or to the later period of the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom.
“Even in antiquity, the tomb suffered from many robbers. Its artifacts were very valuable because they belonged to a person closely associated with Pharaoh Mentuhotep II, probably his son or wife,” said Dr. Patrick Hudjik from the Center for Mediterranean Archeology.
The tomb was built next to the temple of Pharaoh Nebhepetra Mentuhotep II, which today is almost completely destroyed.
“The quantity and quality of the artifacts found is amazing,” Khudzhik said.
Scientists were surprised by the fact that among the finds were many painted vessels and bowls, created at a later time than the tomb itself. How they got there is still a mystery to archaeologists.
In addition to other finds in the rubble, there were various figurines made of faience, clay and stone, ceramic vessels depicting a woman’s breast, as well as several dozen female figurines.
Scientists concluded that these figures depicted women sacrificed by believers and priests in the higher chapel of Hathor – the former center of worship of the goddess Hathor – in Egyptian mythology, the goddess of heaven, joy and motherhood, who was depicted as a cow or a woman with cow ears.
A wooden statuette was also found, depicting a man in a short wig, who most likely was a royal relative.
It is interesting that among the debris lying in the tomb, there were also blocks from the sanctuary of Amon-Ra – one of the most important parts of the Hatshepsut temple. However, why they ended up in the tomb is unknown.
Photo: Discovered figures depicting women