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Sat Jun 2, 2012 12:12PM

A team of Belgian archaeologists has excavated a well-preserved coffin near the upper Egyptian city of Minya revealing ancient funerary rites of an unidentified Middle Kingdom. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven researchers found a large part of the funerary collection during the excavation of the tomb of the first Middle Kingdom governor of the Hare Nome or province in the Deir Al-Barsha necropolis. While the discovered coffin is in a bad condition, early studies revealed that the burial belonged to a man called Djehutinakht, said field director of the Belgian mission Harco Willems. The found inscriptions in the Ahanakht tomb also mention his father, Willems explained, adding that Djehutinakht is known to have been the last nomarch of the Hare Nome of the First Intermediate Period. “It is for the first time in over a century that a relatively well preserved burial of this kind has been found,” said Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim. The discovered funerary items include several ritual objects of alabaster model vessels, offering table head rests, faience libation vases, copper vases and dishes. The collection was embedded in the dried lime crust, explained director of Foreign Missions Affairs at the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) Mohamed Ismail. “The items enable Egyptologists to envision how ancient Egyptians practiced their religious rituals in detail,” said Ismail, adding that ancient Egyptians might have installed the sarcophagus in the middle of the burial chamber and then started the purification and offering processes. FGP/PKH