A labyrinth of burial chambers carved into the rock, from the Ptolemaic period and containing more than 40 mummies of different sizes, both men and women and children, has been discovered by a joint mission of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the Center for Investigation of Archaeological Studies of the University of Menia in the archaeological site of Tuna el-Gebel, in the governorate of Menia, as revealed on Saturday by Egyptologist Khaled El-Enany, the Minister of Antiquities, who stressed that it is the first great discovery Egyptian in 2019. “The newly discovered tombs were probably created for the same upper-middle-class family,” El-Enany said. The ostraca (ceramic fragments with texts or drawings) and the papyrus remains found in the family funerary complex allow the tombs to be dated to the Ptolemaic period, the beginning of the Roman period and the Byzantine period.
The funerary complex contains human mummies of different genders and ages, some inside stone sarcophagi, others in wooden coffins and others in niches or directly buried in the sand. Archaeologists have discovered mummies wrapped in linen, decorated with demotic script or with fragments of the colorful cardboard that once covered them, but which is now in a poor state of preservation. Wagdi Ramadan, the head of the mission, explained that his team began work at Tuna el-Gebel in February 2018, when a rock-cut tomb consisting of a corridor, inclined stairs and a rectangular chamber was discovered. with several burials. On the west side another chamber full of mummies and large stone sarcophagi was discovered and on the north side a third chamber with a collection of stone sarcophagi inside niches. Fathi Awad, the director of Tuna el-Gebel, recalled that the archaeological site has several tombs, including Petosiris and Isadora, a sacred animal ceremony, a Roman cemetery and two frontal reliefs of King Akhenaten.