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This Immaculately Preserved Limestone Coffin was Just Found at Minya

A limestone coffin was dug up from a 5-metre well in Minya's Al-Gharaifa area recently, and the excavators were able to pretty quickly identify its occupant. We guarantee you've never heard of him before.

Lots of things are lost, but not forgotten. But of course, it's a lot more likely for something to get forgotten because it's lost, like the name or identity of a man who has been dead for eons. Kings have entire nations and days of the week named after them, but those of us who only get to leave behind, say, a gravestone, a tomb or a sarcophagus might fall into obscurity more easily. Someone would have to find any of those things centuries in the future for us to be remembered like that. "Those are some very specific examples you've got there," you might ask us. "May we inquire as to what led to such existential ruminations?"

A limestone coffin was dug up from a 5-metre well in Minya's Al-Gharaifa area recently, and the excavators were able to pretty quickly identify its occupant. We guarantee you've never heard of him before. Here lays Jahouti Umm Hoteb, a supervisor to the throne and a 'Great Khums'. Notable for his time, perhaps, but long since buried. Until his sarcophagus was dug up, that is, and suddenly this immaculately crafted piece of limestone bearing his likeness - found among a number of smaller statues - is one of the most fascinating parts of our social media feeds.

Interestingly enough, they've also identified him as the son of the occupant of another coffin, which had been dug up nearby in 2018. Many other family tombs had been uncovered in the area in the past few years, mostly belonging to high priests or senior officials of Upper Egypt's capital, El-Ashmunein, as well as 19 cemeteries containing 70 stone coffins and many pieces of funeral furniture.

Excavations are set to continue at Al-Gharaifa, and our morbid curiosity of whose ancient remains have yet to be found continues with them. Could someone like us reappear as a headline a millennium in the future, just like this guy? We could only imagine how our names and titles would be mistranslated and misspelled in the year 3020.

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