The sarcophagus of ‘Ankh-af-na-khonsu’, a high priest (2,700BC) of ancient Egyptian god Amon Ra, has been unearthed in the west bank of Luxor, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Al Damaty announced Thursday November 26.
‘Some assume that Amon (Amen, Amon) was a relatively modern god within the context of ancient Egyptian religion. His worship at Thebes, where the earliest known Temple dedicated to him was located, is only documented from the 11th Dynasty onward.
It is true that he gained most of his prestige after replacing the war god Montu as the principle god of Thebes during Egypt’s New Kingdom, when he was recognized as the “King of Gods”. At that time, because of Egypt’s influence in the world, he actually became a universal god. In fact, by the 25th Dynasty, Amun-Ra was even the chief god of the Nubian Kingdom of Napata and by the Ptolemic, or Greek period, he was regarded as the Egyptian equivalent of Zeus. However, he is actually mentioned in the pyramid text from the Old Kingdom (5th Dynasty, Unas- line 558), which show him to be a primeval deity and a symbol of creative force. This text seems to assign great antiquity to his existence.’
The sarcophagus, which dates back to the 22nd Dynasty (943B.C-716B.C.,) was found in the tomb of Amenhotep-Huy, who served as Egypt’s viceroy and vizier during the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1391 B.C.–1353 B.C.
“The sarcophagus is made of wood and covered with a layer of plaster. It represents the deceased wearing a wig and crown with flowers and colorful ribbons along with ceremonial beard and a necklace adorning his chest,” Sultan Eid, Director of Upper Egypt Antiquities Department said in a statement Thursday.
The sarcophagus also contains a number of hieroglyphic inscriptions with scenes of the deceased making offerings to several ancient Egyptian deities, he added.
Apparently, the tomb has been reused more than 500 years after it was completed, Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Antiquities Ministry said, adding that the sarcophagus is “well preserved.”
Discovered in 1978, the tomb of Amenhotep-Huy is located at Qurnet Marei, part of the Theban Necropolis on Luxor’s west bank, said Karar, adding that multi-national team of archaeologists led by the Institute for the Study of Ancient Egypt in Madrid has been studying and renovating the architectural elements of the tomb since 2009.
“A translation of the name might be close to the following: Ankh is both a tool and a symbol meaning ‘new life.’ The hyphen ‘af’ is always part of another word that lends exclamatory force. The word, ‘na’ is generally used as a preposition, such as ‘to, for, belonging to, through, or because.’ Khonsu was the adopted son of Amun and Mut from the Theban triad. His name comes from a word meaning, ‘to cross over’ or ‘wanderer’ or ‘he who traverses.’ So, his entire name may be translated as ‘the truth that has crossed over.'”
Most of the scenes at Amenhotep-Huy’s tomb represent the vizier’s daily life activities of agriculture, hunting and fishing. It also features scenes of female musicians and dancers and shows Huy, among his family members, being greeted by high priests, archaeologist Sherif-el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Saturday.
The Theban Necropolis is an area of the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (Modern Luxor) in Upper Egypt. According to Sabban, it was used for ritual burials for several Pharaohs, noblemen and high officials starting from the New Kingdom Period (1580 B.C.-1080 B.C.) and for over a millennium.
Museum of Antiquities in Cairo, Egypt
Kara Cooney, Egyptologist
The Cairo Post Sunday