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Egypt unveils ancient Rameses II-era ‘royal secretary’ sarcophagus

By AFP - Sep 19,2022 - Last updated at Sep 19,2022

A handout photo released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on Monday shows a view of a pink granite sarcophagus belonging to a ranking government official during the reign of the ancient Egyptian New Kingdom Pharaoh Rameses II (12791213 BC), found by an Egyptian expedition at the tomb of Ptah-em-uya in Saqqara near the site of the Pyramid of Unas (AFP photo)

CAIRO — Egypt unveiled on Monday a sarcophagus of a senior royal official from over 3,200-years ago at the Saqqara archaeological site south of Cairo, the latest in a series of spectacular discoveries in the area.

A team of Egyptian archaeologists from Cairo University found the red granite sarcophagus of Ptah-em-uya, “a high-ranking official” under Rameses II, who ruled Egypt in the 13th century BC, the antiquities ministry said.

The noble was “royal secretary, chief overseer of cattle, head of the treasury of the Ramasseum”, Rameses’ funerary temple in the Theban necropolis at Luxor, said Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The official was also “responsible for the divine offerings to all the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt”, Waziri added.

The tomb of Ptah-em-uya was found last year.

Saqqara is a vast necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital Memphis, a UNESCO world heritage site home to more than a dozen pyramids, animal burial sites and ancient Coptic Christian monasteries.

The current excavation season revealed the granite sarcophagus, “covered in texts” to “safeguard the deceased” and “scenes representing the sons of the god Horus”, according to the antiquities ministry.

Saqqara has been the site of a flurry of excavations in recent years.

Most recently, Egypt unveiled a cache of 150 bronze statuettes in May, five ancient tombs in March, and more than 50 wooden sarcophagi last year dating back to the New Kingdom, which ended in the 11th century BC.

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