In Manshiet Dahshur, 25 miles south of Cairo, the villagers recently extended the boundaries of the cemetery. For Ahmed Rageb, a carpenter who buried his cousin in the annexe, it was a logical decision. “We want to bury the dead,” he said, strolling through the new cemetery after visiting his cousin’s tomb. “The old cemetery is full. And there is no other place to bury my family.”
There is just one problem. The new tombs are perilously close to some of Egypt’s oldest: the pyramids of Dahshur, less famous than their larger cousins at Giza, but just as venerable. This is protected land, and no one is supposed to build here – yet more than 1,000 illegal tombs have appeared in the desert since January.
“What happened was crazy,” said Mohamed Youssef, Dahshur’s chief archaeologist. “They came and took space for about 20 generations.” Read more.
XI’AN - A public cemetery uncovered in the city of Xi’an, capital of Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, was used for maids of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), an archaeologist told Xinhua Tuesday.
A dozen tombs, located in the west of the thousands-year-old city, were found in April, 2012, Liu Daiyun, a Shaanxi Archeology Research Institute researcher said.
Since then, the tombs have been examined.
“The structures of the tombs in this region are similar, and they have obvious characters of the Tang Dynasty. According to the epitaph of a 70-year-old maid, we deduced that the place was a public cemetery for maids of the imperial palace,” Liu said. Read more.
A 1,300-year-old unidentified cluster of 102 tombs, 40 percent of which were made for infants, have been unearthed in China’s restive westernmost province.
The tombs, found on the Pamirs Plateau in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, contain wooden caskets with desiccated corpses, as well as stoneware, pottery and copper ware believed to have been buried as sacrificial items, said Ai Tao from the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute.
“The cluster covers an area of 1,500 square meters on a 20-meter-high cliff, an unusual location for tombs,” Ai told state-run Xinhua news agency.
He added that his team was also very surprised to find such a large number of infant corpses. Read more.
An Italian archaeological mission has accidently uncovered a collection of five private rock-hewn Third Intermediate Period tombs while brushing sand from parts of King Amenhotep II’s temple, located on the northern side of the Serapaeum on Luxor’s west bank.
Each tomb includes a deep shaft leading to a burial chamber containing a wooden painted sarcophagus. The sarcophagi are decorated with funerary and religious scenes painted in black and red and house skeletons of the deceased.
Mansour Boreik, supervisor of Luxor antiquities, said that 12 very well preserved mud brick and sandstone Canopic jars were also unearthed. These jars, explained Boreik, were used by ancient Egyptians to store and preserve the deceased’s bodily organs for use in the afterlife. Read more.
While building a new border check post in the northern coastal Aswad province of Oman, the squad of Royal Oman Police (ROP) discovered ancient artifacts, settlements and tombs dating back to 2000 BC.
Once the ROP team reported the discovery of the ancient graves in Aswad’s Shinas town, the crew of Sultan Qaboos University graduates and trained Omani archaeologists began exploring the location, Gulf News reported on Monday.
According to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture official, the remains from ancient settlements, which include a brass necklace, body, daggers, needles, arrow heads, knives, local and imported beads, belonged to 1900 BC-1100 BC era.
“The team has unearthed a settlement and an archeological cemetery that dates back to 2000 BC, which is also called the Wadi Souq period,” a ministry official said. Read more.
LHASA, (Xinhua) — Four tombs recently unearthed in southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region are believed to contain relics from an ancient Tibetan kingdom that thrived more than 2,000 years ago.
The tombs, found in Gar County of Ngari Prefecture, were found to contain wooden caskets with human remains, copperware, swords and the skeletons of cattle believed to have been buried as sacrificial items, said Dr. Tong Tao from the archeological institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“We believe the location of the tombs was central to the ancient Shangshung Kingdom, a once-powerful tribe that was taken over by Songtsen Gampo to become part of Tibet in the seventh century,” he said.
All four tombs were found near a Bon monastery in Gar County. Bon was a religion that prevailed in Tibet before Buddhism was introduced from India in the seventh century. Its followers worshipped “natural spirits,” like mountains and lakes. Read more.
Excavation of two previously unopened tombs at Bulgaria’s ancient sacred site of Perperikon was to begin on August 15 2012, archaeology professor Nikolai Ovcharov said.
The two tombs are made of large stone blocks. Ovcharov said that they were expected to provide very important information about the history of Perperikon in the Middle Ages.
This archaeological season, digs are taking place in the acropolis of the site, where Ovcharov’s team of archaeologists expects to find the Episcopal residence of the 13th to 14th century.
So far, archaeologists have discovered more than 100 graves from the 13th to 14th century. A further 15 are to be explored.
Ovcharov said that a week ago, some of the golden treasure of the bishops of Perperikon had been discovered, 11 gold and six silver coins.
This was part of a treasure, part of which was removed about 20 years ago by looters. Ovcharov said that the treasure originally had included about 50 gold coins. Read more.
GIZA, Egypt — More than 4,500 years since the paint was first applied, the reds, yellows and blues still stand out on the walls of the tomb of Queen Meresankh III.
A hunter throws a net to catch water birds, craftsmen make papyrus mats while a stream of people carry baskets filled with offerings for the afterlife.
Decorating the walls all around are paintings, reliefs and statues of Meresankh, draped in a leopard-skin cloak, standing beside her mother in a boat, pulling papyrus stems through the water or being entertained by musicians and singers.
Egypt’s tourism industry has been battered since last year’s revolution, but here, beside the pyramids of Giza, officials are trying to attract the visitors back.
The tomb of Meresankh, whose name means lover of life, will be opened to the public for the first time in nearly 25 years later this year, while five other tombs of high priests — buried under the desert sands for decades — will be thrown open. Read more.