Friday, August 17, 2007

27th Dynasty Noblewoman found in Saqqara

"An ancient Egyptian noblewoman's large stone coffin has been found in a tomb near the pyramid of Unas, experts announced yesterday Archaeologists were digging near the crumbling pyramid in Saqqâra, 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of Cairo, when they discovered the tomb, which had been built more than 600 years before the noblewoman's death.

El-Aguizy said the coffin of the noblewoman, named Sekhemet Nefret, was the first from Egypt's 27th dynasty (525 to 402 B.C.) to be found in this part of Saqqâra, an ancient royal burial ground.

The walls of the burial shaft were made in part with carved stone slabs, known as stelae. The stone dates from the even earlier reign of the pharaoh Djoser.

Like other burial grounds near Egypt's ancient capital Memphis, the site was abandoned for centuries and then came back into use after the Persian conquest of Egypt in 525 B.C. At that time, nearby temples were renovated and religious cults flourished. Noblewoman Nefret's family had a direct role in that conquest.

She was related to Udja Hor Resenet, a physician and scribe. Resenet helped the Persian king Cambyses II conquer Egypt and later tutored the new ruler in Egyptian religion and rituals."