Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany witnessed the unpacking process of two ancient sarcophagi ahead of their restoration and display in a new museum.
The mummies in the two sarcophagi belong to a senior official of the New Kingdom of Egypt, and his wife, said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The sarcophagi belong to Sennedjem, who served as the overseer of the workers at Deir al-Medina necropolis in Luxor during the reigns of Seti I and Ramsesses II of the 19th Dynasty, some 3,400 years ago, he said.
Sennedjem was nickname of the servant of the Palace of Truth, Ahmad al-Sherbini, general supervisor of the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), told Xinhua. The two mummies have been placed inside colored wood-made sarcophagi, said Sherbini. He highlighted the bodies are perfectly preserved in best conditions and its mummification process resembled that of the royal kings.
After removing the covers of the two sarcophagi, the mummies will be transferred to the restoration lab to be placed in a sterilization capsule for more than twenty days, Sherbini explained. “The fumigation process is similar to a sophisticated surgery conducted by very skillful restorers,” Anany said.
The mummies will also undergo a process of cleaning it from any insects for at least one month, Anany added. Sennedjem’s bodies were found along with other 20 mummies in a tomb discovered in 1886 on the west bank of the Nile by a French Egyptologist Maspero. The two sarcophagi came from Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the NMEC, partially opened in February, 2017
The official opening of the NMEC is scheduled in the beginning of December after inaugurating the mummies hall that will include seventeen royal mummies, Sherbini added. Located in the ancient city of Fustat in Cairo, the museum will display a collection of 50,000 artefacts, presenting Egyptian civilization from prehistoric times to the present day, Sherbini added.
The new museum, overlooking Ain el-Sirah lake, is composed of nine halls, he added. Sherbini added the NMEC, the second largest museum in Egypt built on 23,235 square meters, will be also an integrated cultural center.