Discovery of the sarcophagus of an official in charge of offerings to all the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt

The red granite coffin, covered with inscriptions protecting the deceased and with scenes representing his sons and the god Horus, was unearthed at Saqqara.

Egypt on Monday unveiled a red granite sarcophagus in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, the latest in a series of landmark discoveries in the region. The site of Saqqara, located just over fifteen kilometers south of the pyramids of the Giza plateau, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is famous for its step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser.

The discovery of the sarcophagus of Ptah-em-uya, a high official under Ramses II, who ruled Egypt in the 13th century BC, was carried out by a team of Egyptian archaeologists from Cairo University, according to a press release from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Descended from the nobility, Ptah-em-uya was "Royal Secretary, Chief Overseer of Livestock and Head of the Treasury of the Ramasseum", memorial built to the glory of Ramses II in Thebes, the current Luxor. He was also "responsible for the offerings to all the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt", said Mostafa Waziri, director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The tomb of Ptah-em-uya was discovered last year, but recent excavations have uncovered the granite sarcophagus, "covered with inscriptions" for "protect the deceased" as well as "scenes depicting his sons and the god Horus“, according to the Ministry of Antiquities.

Frantic searches

The site of Saqqara has revealed many archaeological “treasures” in recent years. Egypt announced in May the discovery of a cache containing 250 sarcophagi and 150 bronze statues. Some critics say rampant excavations in Egypt have prioritized media spectacle over solid academic research, but Cairo is counting on these new discoveries to boost tourism, pending the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) , postponed several times. Described as "the largest archaeological museum in the world», the GEM should be inaugurated this year.

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