A centuries-old mummy has been unearthed near Luxor City, Egypt, without any traces of alteration, according to the Guardian. Announcing the rare discovery on Sunday, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said the remains were exhumed from a tomb on the western bank of the Nile River, 435 miles south of Cairo, Egypt’s capital.
The ministry says the tomb, which is estimated to date between 1075 B.C. and 664 B.C., is likely to have belonged to a nobleman named Amenrenef, who was a servant of the royal household.
Bound with linen and stuck together with plaster, the ancient mummy was placed in a brightly colored wooden sarcophagus and buried near a temple from the era of the warrior king Thutmose III.
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Myriam Seco Alvarez, the lead archaeologist heading the team that discovered the mummy, said the remains featured a wide range of colorful decorations, including detailed depictions of the goddesses Isis and Nephtys displaying their wings and four sons of Horus.
From as early as 4,500 B.C., Egyptians have practiced the tradition of wrapping the bodies of their relatives in order to preserve them after death.
The wrapping process, which is known as mummification, was performed by appointed individuals called “embalmers.” Bodies of the dead were taken to embalmers by their relatives, who then chose the method and quality of mummification.
The expensive mummification procedures were done for wealthy and prominent members of the society, but there were other affordable procedures for common citizens.
Every Egyptian was entitled to a decent burial that included mummification, except for the most abject criminals.
The most common mummification procedures included removing the brain through the nostrils, taking out the gut and other stomach content, and cleaning the inner body with palm wine and spices, before filling it with pure myrrh, cassia, and other spices.
The body was then covered in natron, a mineral salt found in dried lake beds, for 70 days, cleaned, and then rolled up in fine linen. Once removed from the body, the deceased’s internal organs were placed in four vases called “canopic jars,” which had lids that resembled the four sons of Horus.
The four jars were then wrapped and placed in the tomb alongside the mummified body.
Luxor City is home to many temples and tombs that were constructed thousands of years ago by pharaohs, Egypt’s ancient rulers. With an estimated population of about 500,000 people, the city is a major tourist site in Egypt.