A long year of discoveries seems to be far from reaching an end, as 56 jars filled with embalming materials for mummification were found at Deir el-Bahari in Luxor by a Spanish-Egyptian archaeological mission from the University of Alcala.
The jars belong to Ipi, vizier and overseer of Thebes and member of the elite during the reign of Amenemhat I of the early Twelfth Dynasty. The team found the vessels while they were working on a project of studying archaeological lands and the epigraphy of tombs of Henenu, Ipi, and Harhotep, all belonging to that dynasty. The team also studied the conservation of these monuments and others located at Thebes.
“The identification of these materials is of great importance for understanding the mummification techniques used in the early Middle Kingdom and the assessment of the kinds of items, tools, and substances involved in the process of embalming,” said Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector.
The jars have seen the light in a cleaning process by the team to the tomb of “Ipi”, where they found the jars in an additional chamber northeast of the tomb’s corner.
Nonetheless, the team was not the first to discover the jars. According to a press release by the Ministry of Antiquities, they were first found by American Egyptologist Herbert Winlock between 1921 and 1922 in a room located in the courtyard and left there until the Spanish-Egyptian mission this year rediscovered them.
“The deposit of the mummification materials used for Ipi include inscriptions, various shrouds, and 4 metres of linen sheets, shawls, and rolls of wide bandages, in addition to further types of cloths, rags, and pieces of slender wrappings destined to cover fingers, toes, and other parts of the vizier’s corpse,” said Antonio Morales, head of the Spanish mission.
He added that the discovery also included around 300 sacks with natron salt, oils, sand, and other substances, as well as jar stoppers and a scraper. Among the most outstanding pieces of the collection are Nile clay and marl jars, some with potmarks and hieratic writing.