The year 1999 highlights the discovery of a cemetery with mummies occupying an area of more than three square kilometers. It later became known as the Valley Of The Golden Mummies. It is estimated that this area contains 10000 mummies near the town of Bawiti in the Bahariya desert, located 400 km from Cairo. The cemetery has no visible graves, but contains tombs dug in the sandstone beneath the surface of the desert.
According to Dr. Hawass, Bahariya’s impressive mausoleum – also known as “The Valley of the Golden Mummies” –was originally from the Greco-Roman Period. Let’s move on 10 of the mystic facts about the Valley Of The Golden Mummies and Bahariya Oasis.
1 When Was It Constructed?
Curiously, the tombs were located when a donkey sank into the sand and one of its legs was caught on the roof of the tomb whose roof had collapsed and caused a depression in the ground. This cemetery of the Greco-Roman period (332 BC to 395 AD) contains the remnants of many rich people and even some rulers. Middle and poor people were also buried here.
2 Who Discovered This Archaeological Treasure?
One Abdul Mojood was wandering through the desert with his donkey. Tired of walking and being exploited, the donkey stumbled and fell into a hole suddenly exposed by the wind. The hole was nothing but an opening on the roof of one of these tombs. The Egyptian Government was warned, but this sensational discovery remained secret for three years.
3 Population & The Burial Pattern Of Golden Mummies
All mummies appear to have been buried in family groups. During that period, Bahariya had a population of about 30,000 people and the area was a source of wine and grapes production from the date.
4 TV Reporting Of Discoveries
Excavations discovered bodies buried in simple pits cut into the stone and others in large tombs such as that of a wealthy family that contained 42 mummies.
In May 2000, a TV special reported that in addition to the 105 mummies found the in a year, 102 more bodies had been discovered in seven new graves in the same year.
These recent discoveries were from the Greek period (332 to 30 BC). Age of most of the bodies was between 30 and 40 years old when they died and had liver or kidney disease. The high content of iron in the local water may have caused this type of disease.
The discovery of a secret tomb completely closed except for a small hole in an outer wall, was the highlight of the program. It contained a 12-ton sarcophagus of a prominent and presumptuous local governor named Gad Khensu Eyuf Ankh. His mummy had disintegrated because the tombs had been flooded with water, but many amulets were found in the tomb.
5 What Was Found In The Excavations?
The Valley of the Golden Mummies contains the largest collection of Egyptian mummies ever found in one place. Moreover, the tombs were completely intact and no tomb robber is able to penetrate the place. Therefore, it can be considered one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the history of Egypt and the world.
At least 60 mummies were found with gold masks where they were covered with cartons from head to waist. Some un-decorated mummies placed in anthropomorphous terracotta coffins and wrapped in linen. The decorations of some of the mummies are wonderful. Each one is painted differently. There are no two similar mummies. Many of the mummies of children are covered with a thin layer of gold. Some mummies hold a coin in their hands.
6 Recent Discoveries
In March 2001, there were two tombs containing 22 mummies with 11 of them in excellent condition. The bodies were covered with realistically painted gold masks indicating that they were from a wealthy family. The female member was masked with a pink face, red lips, a long nose and eyes highlighted with mascara. But the real treasure of this tomb is the mummy of a crying boy. It shows a child about three years old with a real face showing tears. The symbolism may mean that the boy’s parents, who were buried with the child, died before it. In April of 2004, a group of 20 new mummies locations were traced resulting to 234 bodies found in the Valley.
7 The Dawn Of Hieroglyphs
In the Greek-Roman Period, the hieroglyphic writing had been practically lost and cursive writing predominated, logically mixed with the Greek and Roman languages. What exactly was the reason to hide more than 10,000 mummies (almost the entire population of a city) that too 380 kilometers away from the Pyramids and in the middle of the hostile desert. It was notably far removed from the Greek and Roman centers, south of the Nile.
8 Temples & Tombs Of Bahariya
Being inhabited from the ancient times, Bahariya oasis is now a beautiful example of several archaeological monuments that can be scattered throughout the nearby deserts. Luckily, many of the sites are now available for travelers exploration. Many of the sites are only the beginning of the excavations that tells us that there are myriads of things about history that we would explore in near future.
The most famous structure is the first discovery of Bahariya that estimated existed from from 1295 BC., further two tombs and a temple is also points of attraction in the oasis. Furthermore, another temple is one of its kind as it is the only Greek temple in Egypt and it is Temple of the Alexander the Great.
9 The Story Of Immense Murals In Bahariya Oasis
In addition to the whole region of the oasis itself, the immense mazes were discovered. They were endowed with prodigious artistic and architectural structures.
The beautiful murals were scattered all over the place. It was a representation of the Solar Barque, leading the RA God – an ancient tradition in the Egyptian religion.
Another mural showed the same ancient religious tradition, where inhabitants which are in any way Greeks or Romans give worship to the MIN god – a cult that goes back to the night of the times.
10 The Beauty Of Sarcophagi
Beautiful sarcophagi, elaborated in the purest gold, show us certain portraits that were never Greek or Roman. At the beginning of their domination in AD 332, the sarcophagi were extremely decadent and coarse, only wood (never metallic). In it the faces of the deceased aristocrats were painted – and indeed very badly.
Its antiquity is so much that some sarcophagi have merged through the ages with the sandy soil becoming literally fossilized.