Archeology X-Files

10 Mysterious Ancient Sarcophagi

Sarcophagi are the plural of sarcophagus which was derived from the Greek word flesh eater. These are stone burial boxes that were used for burying dead people. In the ancient Egypt, Hellenistic world and in the Roman Empire, these stone coffins were employed. The uses of these boxes were continued till the Christian era and became an iconography for the religion. These upper class stone coffins were adorned with depictions, dreams, fears and hopes of the deceases. There are various secrets behind these sarcophagi and they are:

1 – Flesh eating sarcophagi:

10 Mysterious Ancient SarcophagiPhoto credit: Valery Shanin/ via Ancient Origins

It usually takes 50 to 200 years for a body to decompose but these flesh eating sarcophagi can completely decompose a corpse in just 40 days. These stone coffins are made of andesite stones which may be the reason behind the rapid decomposition of the body.

2 – Mystery of tomb KV55:

10 Mysterious Ancient Sarcophagi

A mysterious sarcophagus was discovered in the Tomb KV55 in the Valley of Kings in Egypt. The tomb consisted of four canopic jars, furniture, a gilded shrine and a sarcophagus. The coffin was desecrated and the name of the owner was chiseled out and the decorative face mask was ripped off.

3 – Child Star sarcophagus:

10 Mysterious Ancient SarcophagiThe mummy of Tjayasetimu. Credit: Trustees of the British Museum.

Another sarcophagus was bought by the British museum which contained the remaining of an ancient child star of seven years named Tjayasetimu who was the member of the Royal choir. With a length of just 122 centimeters, she was wrapped in painted bandages with her face covered with a veil and a golden mask.

4 – 3,000 year old fingerprints:

10 Mysterious Ancient SarcophagiThe fingerprints were discovered by museum researchers on an inner coffin lid belonging to the priest Nespawershefyt from about 1000 BC. Credit: Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Ancient fingerprints were found on the lid of a 3,000 year old sarcophagus. The fingerprints are said to belong to the craftsmen of the coffin who might have handled the lid of the coffin before the drying of the varnish.

5 – Inconvenient sarcophagus:

10 Mysterious Ancient SarcophagiPhoto credit: Yuli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority via Ancient Origins

A 1,800 year old sarcophagus was found in 2015 by the Israeli Antiquities Authority after the construction workers hid it. The coffin was made of limestone and suffered damage from inappropriate handling by the builder and the sarcophagus contained designs of a gorgon head, bull’s head, cupids, floral arrangements and an image of a young man.

6 – Silk Road sarcophagus:

10 Mysterious Ancient SarcophagiPhoto via The Australian

A white marble sarcophagus was discovered in the year 1999 which reflected the cross-cultural interaction with the ancient Silk Road. The sarcophagus belonged to Yu Hong and his wife who survived during 592 and 598 AD.

7 – Tabnit Sarcophagus:

10 Mysterious Ancient Sarcophagi

In 1887 a sarcophagus was discovered by a US minister which was considered to be one of the most fascinating artifacts of the Phoenician culture. The sarcophagus held Tabnit, the ruler of Sidon and a priest of Astarte. The coffin contained an oily, brown liquid that preserved the remains of Tabnit.

8 – High Priest Hieroglyphics:

10 Mysterious Ancient SarcophagiPhoto credit: Ministry of Antiquities, Egypt via Ancient Origins

The sarcophagus of high priest Amun Ra was found in the year 2015 which was covered with mysterious and holy hieroglyphics.

9 – Untouched Etruscan Sarcophagus:

10 Mysterious Ancient SarcophagiPhoto credit: Soprintendenza Archeologia Dell’Umbria via Ancient Origins

Two sarcophagi shedding light on the Etruscan civilization was discovered from an untouched tomb by Italian archaeologists in 2015.

10 – Mystery of bearded man:

10 Mysterious Ancient Sarcophagi

A Roman-Egyptian sarcophagus was discovered with a mummy portrait attached to it and it has tantalized the archaeologists. The identity of the man with the beard still remains a mystery.

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