An amazing discovery has been made by a Spanish-Italian archaeological team in Egypt – an ancient reproduction of the legendary Tomb of Osiris, the god of the dead in Egyptian mythology, was found in the necropolis of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, on the West Bank at Thebes.
The tomb complex is a huge multi-level structure which includes numerous chambers and shafts. It consists of a massive hall supported by five pillars and has a staircase leading down to the funerary complex decorated with the carvings of Osiris. The funerary room also has the reliefs of demons brandishing knives, which, according to the archeological team, were placed there for protection of the body of the deceased.
The tomb is built around the emerald statue of the god, which is situated in a central vaulted chapel and faces a staircase with a 29.5 foot (9 meter) long shaft cut into it. This shaft leads to another empty chamber, which, in turn, has another, 19.6 feet (6 meters) long shaft connecting to two more rooms. Here you can see the sketch showing the structure of the tomb of Osiris:
The researchers assume that the ancient tomb was built between 760 BC and 525 BC, which corresponds to the period of the rule of the 25th dynasty (760 – 656 BC) and the 26th dynasty (672 – 525 BC). This estimation is largely based on the architectural similarity of the newly discovered tomb with another funeral complex devoted to Osiris – the so-called Osireion located in the city of Abydos, Luxor.
According to an article written in Luxor Times Magazine, the Osirian symbolism is very evident in this ancient tomb, which contains “a big staircase of 3.5 meter long with a 4 meter high ceiling at the bottom leading to the Netherworld and another one leading directly to the Osiris statue, which is therefore at a higher level and ideally isolated on ‘his island’; the Osiris statue itself; the empty corridor surrounding it which symbolizes the channel of water (see Osireion in Abydos); the expected burial chamber below the statue, thus identifying the deceased with Osiris.”
In fact, the tomb complex was partly discovered by Philippe Virey in 1887, but it was excavated to its full extent only recently. The research team plans to continue the exploration of the ancient funerary complex in the fall of 2015.
Image credits: Replica of the tomb dedicated to the god Osiris (MinProject: Archaeological Mission Canaria-Toscana)