The pink granite coffin of a high-ranking Egyptian nobleman has been found in an ancient tomb near Cairo where it has rested for thousands of years. It belonged to Ptah-em-wia, head of the treasury under Ramses the Great, and has been described by archaeologists as a “dream find”. Engraved on all sides with symbols, hieroglyphs and titles, the 3,300-year-old stone coffin was found in pristine condition and located in the original 23-meter-long underground tomb.
The coffin was unveiled in the fourth series of Lost Treasures of Egypt, which aired Sunday on National Geographic. Surface grave was discovered by Professor El Aguizy last season, but she can only go down to the underground chamber this year. Archaeologists had to move several tons of sand to create a shaft that they could use to get to the first floor of the mausoleum, located near the pyramid of King Unas. There, they found 3,000-year-old stone masonry, which needed to be reinforced before they could safely descend deeper. There was a small depression in the ground that concealed a second well, which the team descended by sitting in a large metal bucket that had to be turned up and down by hand This second underground floor is the burial chamber and the place where the coffin is located. Finding the coffin intact and in the tomb of its original owner are two rare occurrences in Saqqara
According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, while it was found in good condition, part of its lid was broken and left in a corner of the room.
Archaeologists believe it was the result of tomb robbers opening and robbing the coffin. Grave robbers were active in the area in ancient times, and most of the tombs have since been reused many times, so very little of the original owners’ possessions will remain there . However, Ptah-em-wia was the original builder of the mausoleum where his coffin was found His coffin shows a record of all his titles, including the Great Overseer of the Cattle and the Royal Scribe He headed the treasury of the Egyptian pharaoh, King Ramses II, in the era after Tutankhamun’s death.
It also features a human figure with his arms crossed over his chest and the face of Ptah-em-wia wearing a prosthetic chinProfessor El Aguizy said: ‘This coffin is a prime example of a New Kingdom style coffin for the elite
‘It was made of granite and engraved with the usual symbols of the gods: the sky goddess Nut on the breastplate with her wings opened to protect the dead, the four sons of the Sun God Horus Surround the coffin with prayers to protect the dead.
“The contours of the face and beard also reveal the fine lines of New Kingdom art, and the high class of the deceased.”
According to the show’s producer, this is a “find of the season” and extremely important in the world of archeology. Now, Professor El Aguizy’s team will delve into the coffin to uncover the full story of Ptah-em-wia’s life.
This eight-part series unravels the secrets of ancient civilizations by ducking through tombs and following excavations with the latest technology You can watch The Lost Treasures of Egypt on National Geographic with a Disney Plus subscription.