Two mummification workshops – the largest and most complete ever found – have been discovered by the Egyptian mission working in the Sacred Animal Cemetery (Bubasteum) at Saqqara. Dating to the Thirtieth Dynasty and Ptolemaic periods, each structure was made of mud brick and divided into a number of rooms. One of the workshops was for the mummification of humans and contained two plaster-covered stone beds for the preparation of the deceased. The second workshop was dedicated to the mummification of sacred animals and contained five smaller stone preparation tables. A number of clay pots, canopic jars, embalming tools, and other items associated with the mummification process were uncovered at the site.
The Saqqara team also discovered two tombs belonging to priests from the Old and New Kingdoms. One of the tombs belonged to Nehesutba, head of scribes and priest of Horus and Maat during the Fifth Dynasty, and contained painted scenes showing musicians and the harvesting of crops. The New Kingdom tomb contained an alabaster statue and belonged to a man of the Eighteenth Dynasty named Menkhepera, who was a priest of the Canaan goddess Qadesh.
Other finds at the site included a collection of wooden statues of Nesuhenu and his wife from the Fifth Dynasty, shabti figures, and an anthropoid painted coffin from the Third Intermediate Period.
Text: Sarah Griffiths / All images: copyright of the Ministry for Tourism and Antiquities, unless otherwise stated