miércoles, 2 de julio de 2014

Funerary chapel uncovered in Asasif necropolis

A team of Polish researchers from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Wrocław, have discovered a 4,000 year old funerary chapel in one of the ancient necropolises around Luxor in Upper Egypt.
The discovery was made in the courtyard of a rock tomb belonging to an important Pharaonic official – Horhotep, in the Asasif necropolis adjacent to the famous Hatshepsut temple at Deir el-Bahri.
The deceased lived during the reign of the Pharaohs Amenemhat I and Senweseret I of the XIIth dynasty.

A rare find

“This is the first known monument of this type from the period of the Middle Kingdom (2055 – 1773 BC)”  explained Patryk Chudzik, head of the project. Within the surviving sections of mudbrick walls the team uncovered a fragment of limestone altar where sacrifices and prayers were offered to the occupant of the tomb. The remains of dozens of ceramic vessels bore testimony to the family of the deceased bringing gifts.
According to Chudzik, this is only the third example of such a structure in the Theban necropolis, but this is the first to contain the remains of funeral offerings and an altar.

Unfinished building work

The archaeologists were able to show that the building was never completed, evidenced by unused bricks a few metres below the chapel walls stacked up in preparation for further work. They also found a wooden dowel, used by the builders to mark a straight line.
“Our work shows how pragmatic the ancient Egyptians were. They were bringing and offering gifts and praying in an unfinished building, in the company of builders. There are other examples in the Theban necropolis, such as the courtyard of the adjacent tomb MMA 512 which was never completed, though the actual burial still took place” – explained Chudzik.

Accompanying tomb

When working inside the courtyard, archaeologists unexpectedly stumbled upon a small opening in the rock about 15 metres below the façade of the tomb, which turned out to be a so-called ‘accompanying tomb’, where one of the close associates of Horhotep was placed. Lower-level officials were often buried within the funerary complexes of dignitaries, to whom they were direct subordinates.
In the rubble filling the shaft archaeologists found a number of items, including ushabti figures. Ushabtis were placed in tombs among the grave goods and were intended to act as servants for the deceased, should he/she be called upon to do manual labour in the afterlife (these particular figures are associated with the subsequent reuse of this tomb). A flint hammer was also found, which was probably used in the construction of the tomb.

Source: Past Horizons:

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