Tuesday 6 of December, 2022
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New PBS Show Reveals the Secret Behind the Mass Burial Site of the Egyptian Warrior Mummies

That Ancient Egyptian tea has been spilled and it ain't pretty.

Staff Writer

Back in 1923, an archaeological expedition unearthed an Ancient Egyptian tomb dug 61 meters into a rocky cliff in Deir ElBahari near Luxor and what they found left them completely shocked and mystified - so much so, in fact, that the entrance of the tomb was completely sealed after.

The burial site dated back to Old Kingdom and was made up of a of a series of winding chambers and tunnels where 60 mummified bodies were found, completely piled up on each other, all of which seem to have died from severe war trauma; some of them had fractures in their skulls while others had arrows embedded in their bodies.

The mysterious site was revisited and opened up in September 2018, nearly a 100 years after its discovery. The 2018 expedition was led by Salima Ikram, a professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, and the mission was to demystify the mass burial which by historical Ancient Egyptian standards was an extremely rare occurrence. The team spent the next upcoming months examining, analysing and researching these shocking findings that were presented in a new PBS documentary that premiered last Wednesday titled 'Secrets of the Dead: Egypt's Darkest Hour.

The team came to the findings after data was gathered from different sites, where several pieces of the puzzle had to gel together to form the full picture of how these mummies came to be in such condition at their time of deaths. It all starts at the end of Pharaoh Pepi II's 90-year reign, around 2150 BC, where an intense period of drought left the southern states in a state of famine. Add to the equation state governors gaining momentum and control while also rejecting the godlike stature of the Pharaoh, and you've got yourself a cocktail of havoc and civil unrest. It was likely that the 60 warriors who were mummified died in one of the skirmishes between opposing political factions.

One governor's tomb in Qubbet ElHawa in Aswan had inscriptions that tied the whole piece together. They gathered that during Pepi II's rule, Egypt had no proper central government putting things in order and social disruptions and upheaval between the states and the government were common place, which makes sense that the Pharaoh's tomb was looted immediately after his burial - an act that was deemed sacrilegious in Ancient Egypt. You can check out the episode below.

Photos courtesy of PBS