Mummies found floating in Minya irrigation canal

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The Antiquities Ministry has launched investigations into the mysterious discovery of three sarcophagi found floating in an irrigation canal in Minya.

Mummies found floating in Minya irrigation canal
Two Egyptian mummies were found floating in this irrigation canal 
at Minya [Credit: CBM.org]

The ancient wooden coffins were reportedly spotted on Friday as they drifted down the Nasseriya Irrigation Canal near the village of Auda Basha — which is affiliated with the Deir Mowass township — in the Minya governorate, the ministry said in a press statement posted to its official website on Sunday.

The artifacts appear to date back to Egypt’s Greco-Roman period, from 332 BC to AD 395, according to the statement.

The circumstances that led to these antiquities bobbing in the canal’s waters is still shrouded in question marks.

They may have been unearthed in an illegal excavation, and then tossed into the canal by treasure hunters who feared arrest, suggested Youssef Khalifa, the ministry’s chief of Egyptian artifacts.

“The robbers may have resorted to dumping these sarcophagi in the irrigation canal when they felt that authorities were closing in on them, or perhaps when they were approaching a security checkpoint,” Khalifa explained.

Each sarcophagus is adorned with colored motifs dating back more than 1,600 years, but none of them bear any Egyptian writing or hieroglyphs, he added.

After they were retrieved from the water, the sarcophagi were opened to reveal mummified remains modestly wrapped in linen, Khalifa reported.

Only two of the coffins contained mummies, while the third proved to be empty, the state-owned news site Ahram Gate reported on Sunday.

Following investigations, these ancient remains are to be handed over to curators for restoration. They will then be put on display in Minya’s museum of artifacts.

The Antiquities Ministry has recently come under scathing criticism for the poor conditions of its museums. The reproval reached a fevered pitch following reports of damage to the world-renowned golden funerary mask of King Tut at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

However, ministry officials have downplayed the damage to the priceless artifact, which dates back to more than 3,300 years ago.

Author: Mada Masr | Source: Mada Masr [February 03, 2015]