A silver face mask gilded with gold, a mummification workshop, mummies and sarcophagi have been discovered at a tomb complex in Saqqara, Egypt, an Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) report says.
The discovery was made by a team of Egyptian archaeologists and archaeologists from the University of Tubingen in Germany.
The burial complex contains several burial shafts dug into the ground, some of them extending more than 30 meters deep.
Some of the finds date back around 2,500 years, including the silver face mask, which dates to sometime between 664 BC and 404 BC.
According to the archaeologists, the style of the mask belongs to ancient Greece, as the technique used to make it was not known in Egypt at the time. Specifically, the eyes of the mask contain calcite, obsidian and a black gemstone.
“The finding of this mask could be called a sensation,” Ramadan Badry Hussein, head of the Egyptian-German team, said in a statement. “Very few masks of precious metal have been preserved to the present day, because the tombs of most ancient Egyptian dignitaries were looted in ancient times.”
Hussein describes the mask’s discovery as very important: “Since 1939, no such mask has been discovered. A very important element is silver. Silver was rarer then, it was more expensive than gold at that time.” Since there was no silver in Egypt, it was probably imported from abroad.
Regarding the technique, Hussein said: “Such a technique was not widespread in Egypt. This was more like a technique used in ancient Greece.”
The mask was in the face of a mummy found in a nearly-destroyed wooden coffin. The dead may have been a priest who lived between the 7th and 5th centuries BC. The coffin has an image of a goddess called Mut on it. From the writing on the coffin that is still legible, researchers can tell that the man was a priest who served Mut.