2500 years old sarcophagus opened live on TV
Two o’clock at night in the Egyptian Minya. An old tomb, desert sand, dark corridors, and breathless explorers. The beginning of a TV spectacle.
Watch the video at the end of the article.
Egyptologists opened the coffin of a 2500-year-old mummy on Sunday evening – live on TV! The American “Discovery Channel” had invited the audience to follow the footsteps of feature film hero Indiana Jones.
Also present: Dr. Zahi Hawass (71), former Minister of Antiquities in Egypt. He first led the audience to the contents of several sarcophagi, offered glimpses into the final resting place of carefully preserved dead people.
Under the first stone lid weighing tons, you can clearly see a set of bright blue faience beads. These were laid around the mummies from the 21st dynasty (began about 1075 BC).
The night hunt continues. Past the sarcophagus with the skeleton of a mummy that is not intact, the scientists work their way to the climax of the show: the unopened coffin of a high priest.
Workers lift the stone lid to the side with a great deal of jerk. Inside: An intact mummy, wrapped in linen and covered with artifacts, including an image of Isis (goddess of rebirth and magic) and a stone scarab. In ancient Egypt, the beetle was considered a sacred animal and lucky charm.
“There’s gold,” says Hawass. He grabs a scepter lying next to the mummy. But how professional are the Indiana Jones methods?
Seriously, researchers would first document, photograph and draw the exterior of the sarcophagus. Dr. Albert Zink (53), head of the Institute for Mummy Research in Bolzano:
“You have to make sure that nothing breaks when you open it. And you would probably rather open a sarcophagus in protective clothing and work with gloves when touching it.”
No matter how questionable the television documentary is, it makes you want a real story. And with the TV event, the country also attracts tourists. In 2017, 8.3 million people visited Egypt. In 2010, before the revolution, there were 14.7 million.
The discovery of the incredible mummy brings curiosity to an ancient culture. And Egypt, with all its current problems, has a lot to offer.