A huge tomb discovered in the West Bank of the Nile Valley of the Kings in Luxor is seen in this undated Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities handout photo received April 28, 2014 (Photo: Courtesy of Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities)
A cache of royal mummies has been unearthed inside a rock-hewn tomb in the Valley of the Kings on Luxor's West Bank, Egypt's antiquities ministry announced on Monday.
The tomb contains almost 60 ancient Egyptian royal mummies from the 18th dynasty along with the remains of wooden sarcophagi and cartonnage mummy masks depicting the facial features of the deceased, Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online.
Ibrahim explained that the excavation work was carried out in collaboration with Basel University in Switzerland.
Early studies reveal that the Heratic texts engraved on some of the clay pots found inside the tomb identify the names and titles of 30 deceased, among them the names of princesses mentioned for the first time – Ta-Im-Wag-Is and Neferonebo.
Anthropological studies and scientific examination of the found clay fragments will be carried out to identify all the mummies and determine the tomb's owner and his respective mummy, said Ali El-Asfar, head of the ministry's ancient Egyptian antiquities section.
The head of the Swiss archaeological mission – Swiss Egyptologist Elena Paulin – said that among the finds were well-preserved mummies of infant children as well as a large collection of funerary objects.
She said that remains of wooden sarcophagi were also unearthed, proving that the tomb was reused by priests as a cemetery.
Early examinations of the tomb reveal that it has been subjected to theft several times since antiquity, said Ballin.