Hidden ‘City of the Dead’ with more than 300 tombs that contain mummified families is discovered in Egypt

Hidden 'City of the Dead' with more than 300 tombs that contain mummified families is discovered in Egypt

Hidden ‘City of the Dead’ with more than 300 tombs that contain mummified families is discovered in Egypt

Scientists have discovered a massive burial with more than 300 tombs in Egypt that they are calling the new ‘City of the Dead.’



The city of Aswan was an important trade, quarry and military zone when it was first established more than 4,500 years ago – but the lives of its people have long remained a mystery.

The team has been working at the site for five years and recently uncovered 36 tombs that were reused for 900 years to include 30 to 40 mummies each – and many contained families who likely died from infectious diseases.

Patrizia Piacentini, an archaeologist at the University of Milan, told DailyMail.com that the burial site spans nearly 270,000 feet and featured up to 10 terraces of ancient tombs arranged in layers on the hill near the modern Mausoleum of Aga Khan III.

‘This was a really spectacular find, very unique in Egypt,’ said Piacentini.

‘[The people who once lived in Aswan] covered the hill with tombs. It is kind of a City of the Dead.’ 

Aswan, one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, is located on the east bank of the Nile River.

It was home to quarries that supplied granite for many ancient Egyptian monuments still standing to this day and was a military post for the Romans, the Turks, and the British.

The population included ancient Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Roman and subtropical Africa.

Aswan was originally named Swenett and later called Swan, which means market because it sits on a border where many goods are shipped in and out.

‘Aswan was a crossing point since forever,’ said Piacentini.

‘People were coming from the east to the west. People came here because it was the border, products from the south arrived in Aswan and then dispersed everywhere else.’

The first tomb was uncovered in 2019 and featured four mummies inside – two believed to have been mother and child who were buried together.

‘At the beginning, we thought they were mother and child, but new CT scans showed they are two children,’ Piacentini.

‘But we recently found a woman near them who was likely their mother and the remains of a man, likely the father.’

Many of the mummies showed sign of disease, with children suffering from anemia and malnutrition

Studies of the mummies 'indicated that 30 to 40 percent of those buried died in their youth, as newborns or as adolescents

The latest excavation found an additional 36 tombs that were reused over the centuries to include 30 to 40 mummies each, many of which were complete families who experts believe may have died from infectious diseases

The five-year excavation also revealed people were buried according to their class. 

The team found elites were laid to rest on top of the hill, including the mummified remains of the general in chief of Aswan, while the middle class was below.

While the team has found dozens of tombs with each dig, the latest has revealed more secrets about the mysterious people who lived more than 2,000 years ago.

The 36 tombs date between the 6th century BC and 9th century AD. 

Some of them have a casket entrance with an open courtyard surrounded by walls of milk brick, while others carved directly into mountain rock. 

Ayman Ashmawy, who heads the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ Egyptian Antiquities Division, said studies of the mummies ‘indicated that 30 to 40 percent of those buried died in their youth, as newborns or as adolescents.’

Among them was a mummy of a woman and child who likely died at the age of one or two – their bodies were glued to each other inside a stone coffin.

Some remains were wrapped cartonnage or a paper-mache material, and forms of burnt clay, stones, wooden coffins and sacrificial tables

Also found in the tombs were offerings, such as pottery, wooden objects and more - Piacentini said there were 'a lot of objects'

Some remains were wrapped cartonnage, a paper-mache material, and forms of burnt clay, stones, wooden coffins and sacrificial tables.

Piacentini told DailyMail.com that preliminary studies on the remains showed that ‘some suffered from infectious diseases, while others had bone disorders.’

‘The children suffered from anemia, malnutrition and in some cases infectious diseases,’ she continued.

‘Some of the bones we found had clear signs of tuberculosis.

‘Another case of amputation was also found in a woman who had her leg removed but survived.’

Piacentini said that the amputation, determined by a callus on her knee, was likely performed by a surgeon or doctor considering she lived after the operation.

Other mummies showed signs of chest and bowel diseases, and some women appeared to have had osteoporosis.

The team found elites were laid to rest on top of the hill, including the mummified remains of the general in chief of Aswan, while the middle class was below

The newly uncovered tombs contained many small families who had been laid to rest together.

‘We found two or three of these small groups who may have died from infectious disease, said Piacentini.

Also found in the tombs were offerings, such as pottery, wooden objects and more – Piacentini said there were ‘a lot of objects.’

The team plans to study all the mummies and only store the most preserved in a museum-owned warehouse. 

Piacentini said they will clean the tomb and then lay the rest of the mummified human remains back inside where they were initially placed before resealing the tomb.

‘This is their resting place,’ she continued.  ‘We uncover their story and then we put them back and close the tomb. For me, it was important from the beginning.’

Source: daily mail

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Hidden ‘City of the Dead’ with more than 300 tombs that contain mummified families is discovered in Egypt/Hidden ‘City of the Dead’ with more than 300 tombs that contain mummified families is discovered in Egypt

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