4,500-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus and mummy among huge Lahun discovery

A staggering 45 ancient Egyptian tombs have been discovered in Lahun in the Fayum Oasis, around 70 miles south of Cairo. One tomb is from the 18th dynasty (1550-1295 BC), and contains at least 12 wooden sarcophagi stacked on top of each other, in which there are highly-decorated mummies.

Four cemeteries have also been discovered at the site, which spans almost 2,500 years of Egyptian history. The oldest dates to the 1st and 2nd dynasties (2750 – 2649 BC) while others belong to the 11th and 12th dynasties, the New Kingdom and Late Period. The oldest contains a rare intact burial including a linen-wrapped mummy and funerary equipment.

Other finds include mummies covered in cartonnage, a linen or papyrus-based material similar to modern plaster, with scenes from the Book of the Dead, an ancient religious text Egyptians believed would help them on their journey through the afterlife.

Two shafts containing clay vessels were also found in the corners of King Senusret II's funerary temple. Lahun is the workers' village of Senusret, aka Senwosret, who built prolifically in the Fayum during his reign from 1897 to 1878 BCTwo shafts.

Slideshow – Four Ancient Egyptian Cemeteries Discovered at El-Lahoun

Journey Through the Afterlife: the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead coming to the British Museum

The Book of the Dead: Recent Research and New Perspectives

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