CAIRO - An Italian-Spanish archeological team on Friday prepared to launch a dig in an extraordinary tomb whose discovery was announced six months ago.
The tomb belongs to Min, an important government officer of the XVIII dynasty, an era ruled by pharaohs such as Tutankhamun and the “heretic” pharaoh Akhenaten, who established a sun cult dedicated to the sun disk Aten, among others. The tomb dacks back 3,500 years and is found on the western side of Luxor, in the necropolis of Thebes. “It will take 10 years of work to open it to the public,” explained the Italian and Spanish project leaders, Irene Morfini and Mila Alvarez Sosa. The two, young passionate archeologists head the Min Project, an excavation of the tomb of Min (TT109) and its extension Kampp-327. Read more.
Lettuce has been harvested for millenia—it was depicted by ancient Egyptians on the walls of tombs dating back to at least 2,700 B.C. The earliest version of the greens resembled two modern lettuces: romaine, from the French word “romaine” (from Rome), and cos lettuce, believed to have been found on the island of Kos, located along the coast of modern day Turkey.
But in Ancient Egypt around 2,000 B.C., lettuce was not a popular appetizer, it was an aphrodisiac, a phallic symbol that represented the celebrated food of the Egyptian god of fertility, Min. (It is unclear whether the lettuce’s development in Egypt predates its appearance on the island of Kos.) The god, often pictured with an erect penis in wall paintings and reliefs was also known as the “great of love” as he is called in a text from Edfu Temple. The plant was believed to help the god “perform the sexual act untiringly.” Read more.
Min, the ancient Egyptian god of phallus and fertility, might have brought some worldy advantages to his male worshippers, but offered little protection when it came to spiritual life.
Researchers at the Mummy Project-Fatebenefratelli hospital in Milan, Italy, established that one of Min’s priests at Akhmim, Ankhpakhered, was not resting peacefully in his finely painted sarcophagus.
"We discovered that the sarcophagus does not contain the mummy of the priest, but the remains of another man dating between 400 and 100 BC," Egyptologist Sabina Malgora said.
According to the researchers, the finding could point to a theft more than 2000 years ago. The relatives of the mysterious man may have stolen the beautiful sarcophagus, which dates to a period between the 22nd 23rd Dynasty (about 945-715 BC), to assure their loved one a proper burial and afterlife. Read more.