Giant alabaster head and black granite sarcophagus
Image: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Get excited: A construction site in Alexandria, Egypt, has unearthed a massive granite sarcophagus, Yahoo! News recently reported. While it is not confirmed, experts believe that it could date back to the Ptolemaic era. This term refers to the kingdom that Ptolemy I founded in 305 BCE after assuming the title of pharaoh. The dynasty officially ended with the death of Cleopatra VII (yes, that Cleopatra) in 30 BCE, as a result of Roman conquest. If indeed this is a Ptolemaic-era sarcophagus, that would make it over 2,000 years old!

No one knows for sure who this tomb is for at the moment, but an alabaster head was also found as the site. It’s definitely faded, but it appears to be made in Greco-Roman style. Some speculate the head could be of the person entombed in the sarcophagus. Whether the coffin’s current inhabitant is its original owner, or simply someone reusing it (as there is precedence for this), is to be determined, says Ancient Architects.

Why is this sarcophagus such a big deal? For one, it’s massive, weighing in at 30 tons; this size makes it the largest sarcophagus found in this city. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities also reports that there is mortar sealing it shut. This means it is likely that this sarcophagus has not been raided before. Unfortunately, grave robbing and plundering is quite common among Ancient Egyptian artifacts and tombs. Even the tomb of Tutankhamen, which gained fame for being largely untouched, was actually raided a few times before Howard Carter rediscovered it in 1922.

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