Egyptian Archaeological digs, what’s thought to be the largest granite sarcophagus ever found in Alexandria, measuring nearly nine feet long.
What really stands out about the solemn-looking coffin is its size. At 185 cm (72.8 inches) tall, 265 cm (104.3 inches) long, and 165 cm (65 inches) wide, it’s the biggest ever found in Alexandria.
Researchers working under the Supreme Council of Antiquities discovered the ancient tomb during an excavation in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria. Experts are assuming it represents whoever is buried in the sarcophagus, though that’s yet to be confirmed.
“We are hoping this tomb may belong to one of the high dignitaries of the period,” said Ayman Ashmawy, the head of ancient Egyptian artifacts at Egypt’s ministry of antiquities. “The alabaster head is likely that of a nobleman in Alexandria. When we open the sarcophagus, we hope to find objects inside that are intact, which will help us to identify this person and their position.”
But opening it for the first time will require extensive work to be done in advance. “It’s risky to open it directly – we need to prepare,” said Ashmawy, explaining that the sarcophagus would be opened on site.
“It’s difficult to move it intact and open it in a museum,” he said. “It’s five meters underground and the whole thing weighs over 30 tonnes. The lid alone is 15 tonnes.”
What makes this ancient treasure even more extraordinary is that it has not been opened in 2,000 years, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Looters have managed to scour through multiple tombs over the centuries, but this large burial case has remained sealed with mortar.
Alexandra has been neglected by archeologist for decades, due to the congestion of the metro city, home to 5 million inhabitants. But with the clear historical value, the city has presented, more efforts have been placed into ‘urban archeology.’
In the coming weeks, a team of engineers will visit the site to provide heavy lifting equipment and structural supports to allow archeologists to remove the sarcophagus lid. Those are all the details we have of the new find, so we’ll have to wait and see if the identity of the buried
Egyptian can be determined. But a sarcophagus of this size could mean someone of pretty high status.
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