Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria

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An Egyptian archaeological team has discovered a cemetery dating back to the Ptolemaic dynasty in Alexandria.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

The team was conducting archaeological testing at a site in Gebel El-Zaytoun, where a fence was to be established, inside workshops of the Railway Authority in the Mediterranean city when they made the discovery.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities



Dr. Amin Ashmawi, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department, said that a group of rock-cut tombs, each containing multiple burials, were found. Each group of tombs is entered via a number of steps that lead to a small open hall and rectangular courtyard surrounded by several burial slots.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Dr. Ashmawi also said that the tombs were most likely used over a long period of time and that they belonged to poor individuals. The tombs have coloured layers of mortar with no decoration which reflects the economical status of the deceased buried there.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities



The tombs were evidently modified over several generations either to add new internments or to seal others.

Dr. Khalid Abo El-Hamd (General Director of the Alexandria Antiquities Dept.) said that numerous pots and oil lamps, some of which are decorated with animals grazing or nursing their young.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

A number of glass vases, amphorae and circular shaped pottery bearing reliefs of female dancers, were also recovered.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Many skeletons discovered were in disarray because of the damage caused to the site during the 1930s when the railway structures were installed and later because of WWII air strikes.

The Ministry of Antiquities has allocated a sum of money to conduct further excavations in the area.

Source: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities [August 26, 2018]

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