A Strange Egyptian burial with ‘Nonsense’ Hieroglyphs

The Discovery

During the second half of the year 2018, an interesting discovery took place in Egypt. Archaeologists uncovered a strange Egyptian burial with ‘nonsense’ hieroglyphs inscribed on the coffin. The location of the discovery is the ‘Saqqara Necropolis’. A team of Polis archaeologists was involved in this discovery.

What ‘Burials’ can ‘Speak’ about?

Burials are one of the most important discoveries in the search for the history of ancient minds and thoughts towards death and the afterlife. In fact, burials can give information about many other aspects of material culture and social systems such as the social and economic status of the deceased etc.

Saqqara Necropolis

Saqqara is a necropolis of ancient Egypt. It is located in the territory of the present-day Giza Governorate of Egypt. It is a vast area where archaeologists found a number of burials. The most famous discovery of this region is the Step Pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser. It is the oldest stone building complex in history of humankind. This area has great potential for uncovering more burials of the past. Thus, archaeologists have been exploring and excavating this region for a long time.

The step pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara

The location of this discovery

During the month of September 2018, Polis archaeologist Kuraszkiewicz and his team were excavating in an area surrounding the Step Pyramid of Djoser. It is a 4,600 years old pyramid. The exact area of the excavation was in between the pyramid and a rectangular ditch, a dry moat. It surrounds the ancient pyramid. Here, they uncovered a burial place. This was strange. Because there had no burial chamber. The coffins were directly buried into the sand.

Why this discovery is ‘Strange’?

It is a strange discovery according to the archaeologists. There is obvious reasons behind this assumption. So, let’s see how the discovery makes everyone surprising!

Archaeologists uncovered poorly preserved mummies from the burial area. The condition of their wooden coffin was not very good. They were in a serious stage of decay. Some of them witnessed the lotting activity of smugglers. A burial mask is an important artifact. But here it was looted. It could have revealed valuable information. In spite of the decay, the decoration remained in one coffin. The lower portion of the coffin had inscribed hieroglyphs.

The mummies at the burial

Usually, hieroglyphs inscribed in this portion should bear some meaning such as the name of the deceased, etc. But here the case is not like that. Because the hieroglyphs were written in a very nonsensical manner that they could not point out any meaning.

The strange burials with ‘nonsense’ hieroglyphs

This is a very strange case in the context of ancient Egyptian burial practice. Because hieroglyphs always bear significant information. The funniest thing was that some of the letters were actually not hieroglyphic letters but were randomly written. Thus, the whole inscription does not form a meaningful text. The reason for this might have been very poor knowledge of the artisan about hieroglyphs. He probably tried to copy something but could not properly do that.

The Strange Figure of ‘Anubis’

From the burial area, archaeologists have recovered two figures of Anubis, the god of the underworld, painted on the foot of the coffin. Generally, black color was used for painting Anubis but here, in the coffin blue color was used. The reason for the change in color selection is not clear to the researchers. It probably refers to the Lapis Lazuli hair of the god.

The ‘blue’ painted figures of Anubis

What does this Discovery tell us about?

This burial probably reflects the burial practices of ordinary people. They might have followed the burial practices of the wealthy class at that time, even without figuring out the actual burial process. So, it suggests that not only the wealthy ancient Egyptians but also the very ordinary mass also believed so much in the concept of life after death that they even might have tried to replicate the royal burial practices to go to heaven in a proper way.