A Spanish-Italian archaeology team in Egypt has found an ancient reproduction of the legendary Tomb of Osiris, who is the god of the dead in Egyptian mythology, in the necropolis of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, on the West Bank at Thebes.
It is thought that the symbolic burial site was used in rituals to connect the god of the afterlife and the vast powers of reincarnation with the pharaohs.
Researchers believe the tomb dates back to the 25th dynasty (760 – 656 BC) or 26th dynasty (672 – 525 BC), based on a comparison to similar tombs that contain Osirian elements.
The tomb complex is huge and has multiple levels with chambers and shafts including a carving of Osiris and a room with a wall relief depicting a demon holding knives. It also has a massive hall supported by five pillars and a staircase leading down to the funerary complex which is where the carvings of Osiris is. The reliefs of the demon with knives were placed in the funerary room for protection of the deceased body.
The beauty of it can be seen with the emerald statue of the god it is built around, which is situated in a central vaulted chapel and faces a staircase with a 29.5 foot (9 meter) long shaft cut into it. This shaft leads to another empty chamber, which has another, 19.6 feet (6 meters) long shaft connecting to two other rooms.
Luxor Times Magazine reports that the Osirian symbolism is evident in the ancient tomb, which contains “a big staircase of 3.5 meter long with a 4 meter high ceiling at the bottom leading to the Netherworld and another one leading directly to the Osiris statue, which is therefore at a higher level and ideally isolated on ‘his island’; the Osiris statue itself; the empty corridor surrounding it which symbolizes the channel of water; the expected burial chamber below the statue, thus identifying the deceased with Osiris.”
While the tomb complex was partly discovered by Philippe Virey in 1887, it was only excavated to its full extent just recently. The research team plans to continue the exploration of the ancient complex in the fall of this year.