Egypt sarcophagus: Mysterious granite box found in Alexandria is finally opened

Dark marble box was speculated to be Alexander The Great's tomb or the container of a nameless curse – but was filled with skeletons and sewage water

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 19 July 2018 16:37
Mystery over contents of six foot tall ancient Egyptian sarcophagus discovered in Alexandria

The mysterious black sarcophagus found in Egypt has been opened.

Speculation and mystery have surrounded the strange black granite box since it was found in Alexandria earlier this month. Some even suggested that it should not be opened, for fear that it could unleash a hideous curse.

It was found next to a giant alabaster head that served only to deepen the mystery of what was inside.

Now archaeologists have prised open the eldritch box to find it was filled with dirty water and three skeletons, according to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities.

The water probably found its way into the box from a sewage trench, the ministry said. It may have caused the mummies to decompose and leave only their skeletons.

The bodies are probably those of warriors. One of the them appears to have a wound that is the result of being hit by an arrow, experts said.

Local reports suggested that officials from the Ministry of Antiquities mocked suggestions that the sarcophagus could unleash evil forces or curses when opened.

In fact, it appeared to contain little of any note. There were no inscriptions or objects inside the coffin that would suggest the bodies belonged to members of an ancient royal family, for instance.

Some had hoped that the tomb could contain the body of Alexander The Great, which would help solve one of antiquity's greatest mysteries. But there is nothing to suggest that any of the skeletons belong to that famed warrior and empire builder.

Alexander's body has never been found. He asked for his corpse to be thrown into the Euphrates river – but speculation has been rife ever since that his body was actually disposed of in a tomb, and that it is still lying waiting to be found.

Either way it is incredibly rare to find an unopened sarcophagus in Alexandria. Anyone planning to build in the city must first have archaeologists inspect the site, and while they occasionally find sarcophagi they have usually been looted.

The skeletons will now be removed from the site and sent to the National Museum of Alexandria, the ministry said. The sarcophagus will also be removed from the site once it is checked over and repaired.

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