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'Distinguished' Greco-Roman tombstone unearthed at Alexandria cemetery

The tombstone, which was found at the Al-Abd archaeological site, is decorated with scenes and inscriptions on a flat background representing the facade of an ancient Egyptian temple

Nevine El-Aref , Tuesday 9 Jan 2018
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Tomb decoration
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Views: 18875

An Egyptian archaeological mission has unearthed the remains of several Greco-Roman tombs, including a "distinguished" tombstone, in the eastern cemetery of the ancient city of Alexandria.

The archaeologists made the finds at the Al-Abd site, which falls within the Hellenistic cemetery, located on Alexandria's sea shore.

Mostafa Waziri Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said that the remains include a collection of offering vessels, and lamps decorated with scenes of Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities.

“But the most important item of this discovery is a very distinguished tombstone that was once used to close one of the cemetery's burial shafts,” Waziri told Ahram Online.

He explained that the tombstone is decorated with scenes and inscriptions made of a mixture of sand and lime on a flat background representing the facade of an ancient Egyptian temple. The scenes depict a staircase leading to the entrance of the temple and two columns holding up the entrance’s roof. The staircase leads to a set of double doors, one of which is half-open and bears a winged sun-disk decoration, he said.

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The decorated tombstone

Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, said that this tombstone is an evolution of the idea of a false door to mislead thieves, drawing them away from the real door of the tomb. The false-door idea was widespread in Ancient Egypt.

The newly discovered tombstone, which was in a poor condition, is now undergoing restoration.

The Al-Abd site is located within the eastern cemetery of the ancient city of Alexandria, which contains a number of burials dating back to the Hellenistic era.

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A pot lid

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