CAIRO: Five mummies in wooden sarcophagi and colored funeral masks from the 18th Pharaonic dynasty were discovered by a US team from the University of Memphis, in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt on Friday.
This is the first such discovery since the grave of Pharaoh Tutankhamen was uncovered in 1922.
The mummies were found inside an undecorated tomb measuring about two meters by 150 centimeters. Alabaster jars, some broken, surround the sarcophagi.
Since the tomb of King Tut was found in 1922, no major discovery happened in the valley, Egypt s chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass told Reuters Television from the tomb during a media visit to mark the official opening.
We don t really know what kind of people are inside but I do believe they look royal. Maybe they are kings or queens or nobles, said Hawass.
The tomb did not contain the treasures of Tutankhamen’s grave, which included items such as the gold death mask of the young Egyptian pharaoh.
The tomb will be cleaned before scientists try to open the sarcophagi and attempt to identify the mummies through any hieroglyphic evidence that may be there, Hawas said.
The Valley of the Kings is perhaps best known as the site of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, which was opened in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter and revealed a treasure trove of gold artifacts along with the boy-king s mummy.
The 18th Dynasty, which lasted from about 1500 B.C. to 1300 B.C., was the first dynasty of the New Kingdom, the Pharaonic empire that lasted until about 1000 B.C. Its capital was Thebes, the present day city of Luxor, 300 miles south of Cairo. Tutankhamen is believed to have been the 12th ruler of the 18th Dynasty. Agencies