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Spanish archaeologists unearth 3,600-year-old mummy in Egypt

Cairo, Feb 15 (): Egypt’s Antiquities Minister said Spanish archaeologists have unearthed a 3,600-year-old mummy in the ancient city of Luxor.

Al-Ahram, Egypt’s state-run newspaper reported on Thursday that a team of Spanish archaeologists working on a routine excavation at a tomb in Luxor uncovered the painted, human-shaped sarcophagus that’s 3,600 years old — with a mummy still inside.

In a statement, Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said the rare finding in a well-preserved wooden sarcophagus dates back to 1600 BC, when the Pharaonic 17th Dynasty ruled.

The sarcophagus was unearthed in an ancient burial site on the west bank of Luxor, near a tomb belonging to the storehouse administrator of Queen Hatshepsut, a member of the 18th dynasty who ruled Egypt from 1502 to 1482 BC.

Ibrahim said the sarcophagus belonged to a top government official, whose mummy was enclosed inside. The sarcophagus is inscribed with symbols, names of the official, but archaeologists have not yet been able to identify him, he said. The sarcophagus is also decorated with inscriptions of birds’ feathers. Ibrahim said feather drawings are rarely found on ancient coffins.

The feather drawings represent the ancient Egyptian goddess of law Maat, who was supposed to have evaluated the hearts of the dead against a feather to determine their rank in the life after death.

The ministry said in a statement the two metre-long and 50 centimetre-wide (6.5 feet by 20 inches) sarcophagus was in good condition and its colours were still bright.

The Spanish archaeological team, which has been performing excavation works for 13 years in Luxor, last year, discovered a wooden sarcophagus of a five-year-old boy that dates back to the 17th dynasty.

Luxor, a city of around 500,000 residents on the banks of the Nile in southern Egypt, is an open-air museum of complicated temples, tombs of paranoiac rulers and landmarks such as the Winter Palace hotel, where crime novelist Agatha Christie is said to have written Death on the Nile.