An ancient cemetery in Egypt contains 1 million bodies, according to a team of archeologists who discovered the burial ground. What the site represents remains a mystery, as the scientists are still puzzled about where exactly all the people came from.
“We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It’s large, and it’s dense,” said Project Director Kerry Muhlestein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University (BYU). Muhlestein presented his findings at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium, held in Toronto in November, Live Science reported.
Archaeologists from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, have been exploring a mysterious cemetery in Egypt for about 30 years. They excavated about 1,700 mummies within the project in Egypt so far. But there is still much work to do.
According to the archaeologists many of the mummies date back to the times when Egypt was a Roman province, from the 1st century BC onward.
Scientists say a nearby village seems too small to produce all these large burial sites. A small pyramid is situated near the cemetery. But it was built more than 4,500 years ago, about 2 millennia before these million mummies were buried.
People buried at the cemetery, which is now called Fag el-Gamous (Way of the Water Buffalo), did not belong to royalty, concluded the researchers. There were no coffins. And the internal organs of the deceased were rarely removed.
“I don’t think you would term what happens to these burials as true mummification. If we want to use the term loosely, then they were mummified,” Muhlestein said, adding that they were in fact mummified by the arid natural environment.
However, researchers still found some beautiful items at the burial site. The objects include linen, glass and even colorful booties for a child. “A lot of their wealth, or the little that they had, was poured into these burials,” Muhlestein said.