News

Skeletons found in Alexandria analyzed

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities

The three skeletons found inside a massive granite sarcophagus unearthed in Alexandria last month have been analysed and found to be a young woman and two men, Egyptian antiquities officials have said, and intricate gold panels have also been discovered inside the coffin.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that preliminary studies on the remains were carried out by a team of researchers headed by Zeinab Hashish, director of the Department of Skeleton Remains Studies at the Ministry of Antiquities, who determined the gender and age of the skeletons by looking at the anatomy of the skulls, pelvises and longitudinal bones.
He added that the team had also found several square intricately decorated panels made of gold, measuring approximately 5cm by 3cm. Waziri said that the delicate artwork depicted on the panels may refer to military rankings. Nadia Kheider, head of the Central Department of Antiquities of Lower Egypt, said that according to the studies, the first skeleton belonged to a woman between the age of 20 to 25, with a height of around 160 to 164 cm.
The second one belonged to a man between the age of 35 to 39, with a height ranging between 160 to 165.5 cm, while the third skeleton is also male, aged between 40 and 44 years old and with a height of 179 to 184.5 cm. She said that analysis of the third skeleton’s skull show a 17cm-wide round cavity, which the man had sustained a considerable amount of time before death.
“This means that the cavity might be a result of a trepanation,” Hashish told Ahram Online. She explained that trepanation is the scraping or drilling of a hole in the skull, and is the oldest surgical intervention in history, found in prehistoric human remains. This form of surgery was rare in ancient Egypt, however, and few skulls with this injury have been found. The Qasr Al-Eini Hospital Museum holds some examples, however, and some skulls found in the tomb of 18th-dynasty treasurer Maya and his wife Merit also show marks of trepanation.
Waziri suggested that most probably the burying processes inside the sarcophagus were carried out in two consecutive phases, as the skeletons were found one on top of the other. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Section at the ministry, said that the researchers have cleaned all the remains found inside the sarcophagus and archaeologically documented all the bones and skulls, as well as the gold panels. He explained that the strange colour of the liquid found inside the sarcophagus was probably a result of the contamination from sewage water, which caused the remains of the skeleton’s wrappings to decompose. Several analyses are being carried out on the water to uncover more about its components, Ashmawy said. Waziri said that more research and studies are being carried out, including DNA tests and CT scans on the bones, to find out more about the skeletons and determine if the three people were genetically related.
The sarcophagus was found in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria during the digging of foundations for a new residential building. Officials have previously said it probably dates to the Ptolemaic (332–30 BC) or Roman (30 BC–642 AD) eras.
The initial discovery of the massive black granite coffin caused a stir; some speculated that it might contain the long-vanished remains of Alexander the Great, whose tomb was said to have been located in Alexandria. Others raised concerns about a curse; according to the BBC, Waziri assuaged fears, saying: "We've opened it and, thank God, the world has not fallen into darkness. The discovery of the red liquid inside the sarcophagus when it was opened also prompted a reaction; an international petition demanding that the Egyptian government let people drink the liquid garnered thousands of signatures.

Date: 19-08-2018

More News

Pregnant woman's skeleton found in Kom Ombo (15-11-2018) Hundreds of tiny terracotta warriors found in China (13-11-2018) 7,500-year-old footprints discovered in Turkey (13-11-2018) Mummified scarab beetles discovered in Egypt (10-11-2018) Oldest known animal drawing found in Indonesia (07-11-2018) 17th-Century fortifications found in Quebec (06-11-2018) 6,000-year-old stone ax discovered in Virginia (01-11-2018) Archaeologist finds megalithic statue in Indonesia (31-10-2018) Ancient ramp discovered in Egyptian alabaster quarry (31-10-2018) 2,000-year-old athletes' tools found in Turkey's Assos (31-10-2018) Evidence of early Cacao use discovered in Ecuador (29-10-2018) Controversial HS2 burial site dig at London Euston begins (26-10-2018) 18th century Russian shipwreck found in Turkey (23-10-2018) 9,000-year-old seal unearthed in southern Turkey (23-10-2018) World's oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea (23-10-2018) 3,200-year-old Assyrian artifact found in Turkey (19-10-2018) Ancient ship wrecks found in Greece (16-10-2018) Viking ship burial discovered in Norway (15-10-2018) 1,500-year-old antiquities found in Turkey (14-10-2018) Bronze Age findings discovered in Greece (12-10-2018) Tomb of a Pharaoh's friend found in Egypt (09-10-2018) Cremated family remains found in western Turkey (08-10-2018) 16-million-year-old fish fossil found in Turkey (04-10-2018) Several sculptures unearthed in Jordan (03-10-2018) Ancient paintings discovered at Temple of Kom Ombo (01-10-2018) Ancient cemetery unearthed in Albania (29-09-2018) Roman-era home discovered near Giza (25-09-2018) Centuries-old shipwreck discovered near Portugal (23-09-2018) A relief of king Amenhotep I recovered from London (21-09-2018) Grinding stone found in eastern Turkey (20-09-2018) A sarcophagus with a mummy uncovered in Aswan (18-09-2018) Archaeologists find sphinx at Aswan temple (17-09-2018) Cave drawings discovered in South Africa (13-09-2018) First Viking city excavated in Denmark (13-09-2018) Paleolithic Mammoth kill site discovered (07-09-2018) Pharaonic cemetery found near Senusert I pyramid (05-09-2018) Traces found of world's oldest cheese (05-09-2018) Archaeologists unearth Neolithic village in Egypt (03-09-2018) London excavations reveal Shakespearean theater (30-08-2018) Roman coins found in Yorkshire  (26-08-2018) Massive pyramid unearthed in China (23-08-2018) Ancient Egyptian mummification 'recipe' revealed (16-08-2018) Heatwave reveals lost UK archaeological sites (15-08-2018) Ancient Octagon-Shaped tomb discovered in China (10-08-2018) Mexican archeologists find 7,000-year-old Mayan remains in cave (09-08-2018) Archaeologists marvel at Neolithic axes finds in Scotland (08-08-2018) Burial chambers discovered in Egypt (31-07-2018) Six 2000-year-old Greek statues discovered in Turkey (28-07-2018) Roman-Era burial discovered in Greece (24-07-2018) Ancient Arctic fibers date back before Vikings arrived (22-07-2018) Roman bath discovered in England (21-07-2018) Archaeologists find ancient pottery workshop in Egypt (19-07-2018) Archaeological chambers uncovered in Alexandria (13-07-2018) Traces of war found in ancient Lydian city Sardis (13-07-2018) Osiris statuette discovered between blocks of Saqqara step pyramid (02-07-2018) 2,000-year-old grave found in Siberia (22-06-2018) Archaeologists find ancient rock art in Egypt (13-06-2018) Ancient Black Death victims found in Russia (08-06-2018) Nine smuggled ancient Egyptian artefacts recovered from France (07-06-2018) Egyptian 'Hawk Mummy' was actually human (01-06-2018) Greco-Roman bath, artefacts discovered at San El-Hagar archaeological site in Egypt (23-05-2018) Treasure trove reveals origins of 800-year-old shipwreck discovered in the Java Sea (16-05-2018) 85,000-year-old footprints found in Saudi Arabia (14-05-2018) Remains of ancient horse discovered at Pompeii (11-05-2018) 40,000 year old stone tools discovered in Australia (04-05-2018) Largest known child sacrifice site discovered in Peru (28-04-2018) 3,000-year-old horse got a human-style burial in Sudan (26-04-2018) Researchers discover evidence of Stone Age veterinary surgery (19-04-2018) Bronze age pot uncovered in Cornwall field in England (17-04-2018) Ancient shark fishermen found buried with extra limbs (13-04-2018) Slaughterhouse uncovered in Edinburgh city centre (06-04-2018) Massive Ancient Drawings Found in Peruvian Desert (05-04-2018) Remains of Graeco-Roman temple discovered near Egypt's Siwa Oasis (04-04-2018) Oldest human footprints in North America discovered (28-03-2018) Rare female pharaoh artwork found in Wales (23-03-2018) Mysterious Denisovans interbred with modern humans more than once (16-03-2018) Oldest Windsor artifact unearthed in Southern Canada (08-03-2018) Ancient human remains found in giant Mexican cave (22-02-2018) Deadly mystery of Turkey’s ancient ‘Gate to Hell’ revealed (20-02-2018) Ancient statue of Nubian king found in Nile temple (20-02-2018) Roman boxing gloves unearthed by Vindolanda dig (20-02-2018) Ancient footprints reveal lifestyle of children 700,000 years ago (16-02-2018) 2nd century Roman temple uncovered in Aswan (13-02-2018) The mystery of Egypt's screaming mummy (12-02-2018) Ancient statues stolen from Lebanon returned after decades (12-01-2018) Ancient fortress investigated in Scotland (12-01-2018) Scythian tomb found in Siberia (12-01-2018) Archaeologists Unveil Two Major Discoveries in Upper Egypt's Tel Edfu and Kom Ombo (11-01-2018) Wreck of Dutch Warship Found Buried Beneath Coral in the Coast of Mexico (09-01-2018) 841-year-old War Mystery Solved (04-01-2018) Ancient Burial Chambers Containing Artifacts Discovered in Turkey's Izmir (03-01-2018) Ancient Irrigation System Discovered in China (03-01-2018) One of The Oldest Toy Collection Discovered in Southern Siberia (28-12-2017) Tudor-Era Blockhouse Unearthed in England (27-12-2017) Construction Workers Discover Underground City in Central Turkey’s Çorum (21-12-2017) Bronze Age Burials Discovered in Scotland (15-12-2017) New Discoveries in Aswan Including Child Burials, Small Artemis Statue (14-12-2017) Spy Satellites are Revealing Afghanistan’s Lost Empires (13-12-2017) Ancient Tomb Full of Soup Bowls and Food Vessels Discovered in China (12-12-2017) Two Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom-era Tombs Opened at Luxor Necropolis (09-12-2017) 2,800 year-old Urartian Stele Discovered in Turkey (06-12-2017) Ottoman-era Qurans Found in Palestinian Town (06-12-2017) Saint Nicholas’ Bone Proved to Be Correct Age (06-12-2017) Ancient Urartian Settlement Discovered in Turkey's Eastern Erzurum (03-12-2017) Statues of Ancient Egyptian Lioness Deity Sekhmet Uncovered in Luxor (03-12-2017) Medieval Road Discovered in Southern England (29-11-2017) Rock Art Depicting Stone Age Camel Discovered in Russian Cave (29-11-2017) Julius Caesar’s Britain Invasion Site Found by Archaeologists (29-11-2017) Statue of Hygieia and Eros Uncovered in Southern Turkey (26-11-2017) Roman Shipwrecks Discovered Near Alexandria (21-11-2017) Neanderthal Extincted Much Later Than We Thought (20-11-2017) 14 ancient Egyptian Artifacts to be Returned from Cyprus (20-11-2017) 1,400-Year-Old Loom Discovered in Iraq (15-11-2017) Evidence of world's Earliest Wine Making Uncovered in Georgia (15-11-2017) Cremated Remains of the Buddha Discovered in Chinese Village (14-11-2017) Mummy Discovered at Fayoum's Deir Al-Banat (14-11-2017) Underwater Ruins of 3,000-year-old Castle Discovered in Turkey (12-11-2017) 300,000-year-old Skulls Could Rewrite the Human Origin Story (10-11-2017) First Infertility Diagnosis Discovered in Cuneiform Tablet in Turkey (09-11-2017) Archaeologists Discover Masterpiece Seal Stone in Greek Tomb (09-11-2017) Cambridge Academics Uncover 2,000-year-old Roman Sundial (08-11-2017) 2,000-year-old Luxury Baths Discovered in China (07-11-2017) Ancient Persian Temple Discovered in Northern Turkey (06-11-2017) First Hellenistic Gymnasium in Egypt Discovered at Watfa Village in Fayoum (06-11-2017) Construction Workers Find Ancient Sarcophagus Cover in Turkey's Gümüşhane (03-11-2017) Cache of Antique Coins Discovered in England (03-11-2017) Mysterious Void Discovered in Khufu's Great Pyramid at Giza (02-11-2017) Pictish Stone Carving Uncovered in Scotland (31-10-2017) World's Smallest Paleolithic Ornamental Beads Unearthed in China (30-10-2017) Archaeologists excavate 400 Iron Age houses in Denmark (26-10-2017) Skull Found in Papua New Guinea was World's Oldest-Known Tsunami Victim (25-10-2017) Archaeologists Find Cache of Assyrian Cuneiform Tablets in Iraq (23-10-2017) Coptic Tombstone Unearthed at Sphinxes Avenue in Luxor (23-10-2017) 8,600-year-old Bear Statuette Unearthed in Turkey’s Izmir (22-10-2017) Unique 5,000 Year Old Figurine Found in Russia (20-10-2017) Archaeology Fossil Teeth Discovery in Germany Could Re-write Human History (19-10-2017) Head of Queen Ankhnespepy II statue Discovered in Giza's Saqqara (18-10-2017) Ancient Monument Discovered in Greek Island of Thirassia (18-10-2017) 400 Mysterious Ancient Stone Structures Discovered in Saudi Arabia (17-10-2017) Gilt-bronze Buddha Triad Found in South Korea (17-10-2017) Parts of a Ramses II Temple Uncovered in Giza's Abusir (15-10-2017) Goatherd Discovers Millennia-old Mammoth Fossil in Central Turkey (08-10-2017) Arabic Islamic Writing Discovered in Sweden's Viking Graves (07-10-2017) Ax Linked to Ötzi the Iceman Found North of the Alps (06-10-2017) 2,000-year-old Olive Oil Mill Uncovered in Turkey’s Aegean Region (05-10-2017) Archaeologists Unearth Largest-ever Discovered Obelisk Fragment from Egypt’s Old Kingdom (05-10-2017) Mysterious Stone Tools Unearthed at Bronze-Age Site in Wales (05-10-2017) Ancient Wall Markings of Wild Animals Uncovered in South Aswan (04-10-2017) Antikythera Shipwreck Yields Bronze Arm (04-10-2017) Earlier Sign of First Modern Humans is Found in DNA (29-09-2017) Canadian Rocks Hold Some of Oldest Evidence of Life on Earth (28-09-2017) 2,000-year-old Toys Discovered Inside Children's Tombs in Turkey (28-09-2017) Pre-Incan Grave with Skeletons of 1,000-year-old Human Sacrifices Found in Peru (27-08-2017) Two Toes of King Psamtik I Statue Excavated in Cairo (25-09-2017) Lost city of Alexander the Great found in Iraq (25-09-2017) Remains of 6,000-year-old Dwelling Found in Scotland (21-09-2017) Ancient Tombs Dating Back to Around 3,000 Years Found in India (21-09-2017) Ancient Shipwrecks Discovered in Black Sea's Dead Zone (20-09-2017) Medieval Porpoise Grave on Channel Island Puzzles Archaeologists (19-09-2017) WWI German Submarine Found off Belgium (19-09-2017) Yuan Dynasty Chieftains Tombs Discovered in Guizhou (18-09-2017) Skeletons Found in Ancient Tomb in Turkey (16-09-2017) Spanish Researchers Discover 30,000 year-old Cave Paintings (14-09-2017) Classic Car Unearthed by Archaeologists in England (14-09-2017) Plane Test Model Found in Lake Ontario (12-09-2017) Bronze Age grave in Greece (12-09-2017) 2,000-year-old Baby Bottle Unearthed in Turkey’s Çanakkale (12-09-2017) Egypt Archaeologists Unearth 3,500-year-old Tomb in Luxor (09-09-2017) Hundreds of Gold and Silver Iron Age Coins Unearthed in England (08-09-2017) Archeologist Using 3-D Imaging on Alberta's Historic Past in Canada (07-09-2017) Women Are Key To History Of Human Migration (06-09-2017) Swedish King's 17th-century Warship Found in Central Stockholm (06-09-2017) People May Have Lived in Brazil More Than 20,000 Years Ago (05-09-2017) Neanderthals and Early Humans Probably didn’t Meet at Rumored Rendezvous Site (04-09-2017) Roman Mosaic Floor Discovered in Southeast England (01-09-2017) Underwater Ruins of Lost Roman City Discovered in Tunisia (01-09-2017) Roman Remains Discovered at Newcastle Housing Site (28-08-2017) Old Shops Found in Turkey’s Antalya Province (27-08-2017) Archaeologists Find Gateway from 13th Century in Slovakia (25-08-2017) 5,000-Year-Old Wine Found In Italy (25-08-2017) At Ancient Pyramid in Peru, Remains of 19th Century Chinese Laborers Found (25-08-2017) Mathematical Secrets of Ancient Tablet Unlocked after Nearly a Century of Study (24-08-2017) Egyptian Antiquities Ministry Inspects Khufu Ship after Accident Causes Mild Damage to Beam (21-08-2017) Ancient Village Unearthed in New Zealand (18-08-2017) Possible Ancient Monks Complex Discovered in Minya Excavations (18-08-2017) 2,200-year-old Coins Record Hannibal's Defeat and the Start of the Roman Empire (14-08-2017) 106-year-old Dessert Left by Capt Scott Found in Antarctica (12-08-2017) 3000-year-old Circular Stone Wall Found in Peru (12-08-2017)