3,400-year-old sarcophagi of senior official and wife are restored in Egypt


Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany witnessed the dismantling of two ancient coffins before they were restored and displayed in a new museum.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the mummies in the two coffins belonged to a high-ranking official of the New Kingdom of Egypt and his wife. He said the coffin belonged to Sennedjem, who was a worker overseer at the Deir al-Medina necropolis in Luxor during the reigns of Seti I and Ramesses II of the 19th Dynasty, some 3,400 years ago.

Sennedjem is the nickname of the servant of the Palace of Truth, Ahmad al-Sherbini, general supervisor of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), told Xinhua. Sherbini said two mummies were placed inside coffins made of colored wood. He emphasized that the bodies were perfectly preserved in the best conditions and that its embalming process was similar to the embalming process of royal kings. After removing the lids of the two coffins, the mummies will be transported to a restoration lab to be placed in a sterilized capsule for more than 20 days, Sherbini explained.

“The fumigation process is similar to a sophisticated surgery conducted by very skillful restorers,” Anany said. The mummies will also undergo a process of cleaning from any insects for at least one month, Anany added.

Sennedjem’s bodies were found along with other 20 mummies in a tomb discovered in 1886 on the west bank of the Nile by French Egyptologist Maspero. The two sarcophagi came from Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the NMEC, which partially opened in February 2017.
The official opening of the NMEC is scheduled for the beginning of December after inaugurating the mummies hall that will include seventeen royal mummies, Sherbini added.

Located in the ancient city of Fustat in Cairo, the museum will display a collection of 50,000 artifacts, presenting Egyptian civilization from prehistoric times to the present day, Sherbini added.
The new museum, overlooking Ain el-Sirah lake, is composed of nine halls, he added.
Sherbini added the NMEC, the second largest museum in Egypt built on 23,235 square meters, will be also an integrated cultural center.

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