The director of a US research team says it has found a cemetery in Egypt containing around a million naturally mummified bodies.
“We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It’s large and it’s dense,” Project manager, Kerry Muhlestein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University in Utah, US, said in a paper he presented at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium, which was held in Toronto.
Muhlestein also said the internal organs of the deceased were scarcely removed and it was the arid natural environment that mummified the dead bodies.
“I don’t think you would term what happens to these burials as true mummification,” Muhlestein noted, adding, “If we want to use the term loosely, then they were mummified.”
While the buried corpses were of low social status, the team of archaeologists found some beautiful items, including linen, glass and even colorful booties designed for a child.
“A lot of their wealth, as little as they had, was poured into these burials,” Muhlestein said.
According to the team, the cemetery is now called Fag el-Gamous, which means “Way of the Water Buffalo,” a title originating from the name of a nearby road.
The people buried in the cemetery were not kings or queens and often laid to rest without coffins, the researchers said.
Many of the bodies belong to the time when the Roman or Byzantine Empire controlled Egypt, from the 1st century to the 7th century A.D. At least one body was reported to be more than 7 feet tall.
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