Archaeologists have revealed the 3,500-year-old mummified remains of a teenaged Egyptian girl adorned in elaborate beadwork and buried alongside protective amulets.
Her wooden sarcophagus, measuring just 1.75 meters (5.7 feet) by 0.33 meters (just over a foot), was made from a single piece of a sycamore tree and painted white before finding its final resting place in a small burial shaft in the southern Egyptian necropolis Draa Abul Naga in Luxor, reports Egypt Today. It is thought that the young woman was 15 or 16 when she died during the 17th dynasty around 1600 BCE, said the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in a Facebook post. The burial shaft was found during the agency’s 2020 excavation season, said Dr Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The young woman was found lying on her right side, which may explain the small width of the coffin, with an earring in one ear, and covered in a delicate, possibly copper sheet. She was buried with several elaborate necklaces linked together with a single ceramic clip, the first of which was made of blue circular beads strung together and measuring 70 centimeters. A second, slightly smaller necklace was made of green glass beads while the third and “most beautiful” of the lot was made of 74 individual pieces of amethyst, amber, blue glass, and beads made of quarts and a ceramic-like material known as faience. Among the necklaces were amulets and two scarabs, one of them showing the Eye of Horus, a symbol of protection, health, and royal power that was often used for funerary practices to protect its wearer in the afterlife.
Located on the other side of the burial shaft was a small sarcophagus attached to a chain. Contained within it were four wooden statue-like offerings wrapped in linen scrolls. One was inscribed with a script that identifies Osiris, an Egyptian god of the dead. Nearby, another burial area contained a pair of leather sandals that had been dyed a bright red, as well as a pair of leather balls tied together with string. It is believed that these items belong to the woman and were used for dancing or other sporting events, such as those evidenced at another Egyptian archaeological site known as Bani Hasan.