Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus uncovered in Nile Delta en route for restoration

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 3 Mar 2024

A 26-dynasty sarcophagus uncovered at a university hospital construction site in the Delta town of Banha is on its way to being restored at the Qalyoubiya archaeological site after undergoing rescue excavation, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) announced on Sunday.

ancient Egyptian
An 26-dynasty ancient Egyptian sarcophagus uncovered in a Nile Delta hospital construction site


The sarcophagus was unearthed during rescue excavations at the site designated for constructing the Benha University Hospital in Qalyoubiya Governorate.

The SCA initiated the relocation process of the quartzite sarcophagus, which dates back to the reign of King Psamtik I from the 26 Dynasty.

Mustafa Waziri, the Secretary-General of the SCA, elaborated on the meticulous scientific protocols followed in lifting and transporting it.

A specialized team from the SCA and the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) conducted preliminary restoration tasks at the excavation site, including mechanical cleaning and reinforcing of the sarcophagus and its lid.

Subsequently, it will be transferred to the Qalyoubiya Antiquities area for thorough maintenance and restoration procedures.

The sarcophagus weighs approximately 62 tons, inclusive of its lid. Initial studies suggest that it belonged to the overseer of the scribes during the reign of King Psamtik I of the 26th Dynasty, as evidenced by an engraved relief portraying King Psamtik I beneath the lid.

The SCA remains committed to ongoing rescue excavations until all activities at the site are concluded, ensuring the absence of any additional archaeological artefacts, Waziri said.

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