Cemetery with million mummies unearthed in Egypt

Cemetery with million mummies unearthed in Egypt

Archaeologists have unearthed 1500-year-old remains of a child in an ancient cemetery in Egypt that contains more than 1 million mummies.

Archaeologists from Brigham Young University have been excavating the cemetery, called Fag el-Gamous, along with a nearby pyramid, for about 30 years.

Many of the mummies date to the time when the Roman or Byzantine Empire ruled Egypt, from the 1st century to the 7th century AD.

"We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It's large, and it's dense," said Project Director Kerry Muhlestein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University.

The people buried in the cemetery were often laid to rest without grave goods, and without coffins, the researchers said.

The deceased's internal organs were rarely removed; instead, it was the arid natural environment that mummified them.

"I don't think you would term what happens to these burials as true mummification. If we want to use the term loosely, then they were mummified," said Muhlestein, who presented a paper at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium, which was held last month in Toronto.

The mummified child was buried with several other mummies. It was wrapped in a tunic and wore a necklace with two bracelets on each arm, 'LiveScience' reported.

"There was some evidence that they tried much of the full mummification process. The toes and toenails and brain and tongue were amazingly preserved," the researchers said.

"The jewelry makes us think it was a girl, but we cannot tell," they said.
Researchers estimate the infant was 18 months old when she died.

The team is yet to solve the mystery of where exactly these million mummies came from.
The Brigham Young team has excavated more than 1,000 of the mummies over the past 30 years, and Muhlestein admitted the team has a publishing backlog.

One discovery that has not been published is of a mummy who is more than 7 feet tall.
"We once found a male who was over 7 feet tall who was far too tall to fit into the shaft, so they bent him in half and tossed him in," said Muhlestein.

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