Egyptian Oasis Yields Roman-Era Mummy

'Unique find' appears to be 3-foot-tall adult: archaeologists
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 12, 2010 3:45 PM CDT
Egyptian Oasis Yields Roman-Era Mummy
This undated photo released by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities on Monday, April 12, 2010, shows a 3-foot-tall carved plaster sarcophagus portraying a wide-eyed woman dressed in a tunic.   (HO)

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered an intricately carved plaster sarcophagus portraying a wide-eyed woman dressed in a tunic in a newly uncovered complex of tombs at a remote desert oasis, Egypt's antiquities department says. It is the first Roman-style mummy found in Bahariya Oasis some 186 miles southwest of Cairo, said the archaeologist who led the dig. The find was part of a cemetery dating to the Greco-Roman period and containing 14 tombs.

"It is a unique find," he told the AP, confirming that initial examinations indicate a mummy is inside the coffin. The carved plaster sarcophagus is only 3 feet long and shows a woman wearing a long tunic, headscarf, bracelet, shoes, and necklace. Colored stones in the sarcophagus' eyes give the appearance she is awake. Afifi said they had not dated the new find yet, but the burial style indicated she belonged to Egypt's long period of Roman rule starting in 31 BC and lasting a few hundred years. (More archaeology stories.)

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