Archaeologists in Egypt have opened up a mysterious ancient ‘cursed’ black granite sarcophagus.
The massive coffin, which was recently excavated in the city of Alexandria, has now been opened, according to a statement released Thursday by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities. A layer of mortar between the lid and the body of the sarcophagus indicated that it has not been opened since it was closed more than 2,000 years ago.
Three skeletons and sewage water were found inside the sarcophagus, the Ministry explained, in a Facebook post. “The initial preview of bone structures suggests that they are most likely to belong to three officers or military soldiers,” it said, noting that one of the skeletons appears to have an arrow wound.
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Mystery has surrounded the sarcophagus since its discovery was announced earlier this month. The Independent, citing local reports, said that Egyptian officials have been mocking suggestions that opening the sarcophagus would unleash a curse.
There was even speculation that the sarcophagus may contain the body of Alexander the Great. The famous Macedonian king died in Babylon in 323 B.C. after building a huge empire that stretched from Greece to northwestern India. There are conflicting accounts of what happened to Alexander’s remains after his death, although some indicate that he was buried in the Egyptian city that bears his name, according to National Geographic. The king’s tomb has never been found.
Egyptian officials will be transferring the sarcophagus skeletons to the Museum of Alexandria for analysis. Experts want to find out more details about the remains, such as their cause of death.
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The sarcophagus was found buried 16.4 feet below the surface. A carved alabaster head, which may depict one of the tomb’s occupants, was also discovered.
Ancient Egypt continues to reveal its secrets. Archaeologists recently unearthed a 2,200-year-old gold coin depicting the ancient King Ptolemy III, an ancestor of the famed Cleopatra.
Experts in Southern Egypt recently discovered an extremely rare marble head depicting the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
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Additionally, experts in Australia found the tattered remains of an ancient priestess in a 2,500-year-old Egyptian coffin that was long thought to be empty.
On the other side of the world, a rare ancient artifact depicting the famous female pharaoh Hatshepsut surfaced in the U.K. Stunning new research also claims that King Tutankhamun may have been a boy soldier, challenging the theory he was a weak and sickly youth before his mysterious death at around 18 years of age.
Experts in the U.K. also found the world’s oldest figurative tattoos on two ancient Egyptian mummies recently, one of which is the oldest tattooed female ever discovered.
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Other recent finds include an ancient cemetery in Egypt with more than 40 mummies and a necklace containing a “message from the afterlife.” An ancient statue of a Nubian king with an inscription written in Egyptian hieroglyphics was also found at a Nile River temple in Sudan.
Scientists also believe that they may have found the secret of the Great Pyramid’s near-perfect alignment. Experts are also confident that they have solved the long-standing mystery of the “screaming mummy.”
In February, archaeologists announced the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids. Late last year, archaeologists also revealed that they had uncovered the graves of four children at an ancient site in Egypt.