Archeologists have discovered an ancient tomb modeled after the mythical Tomb of Osiris as described by Egyptian lore in the necropolis of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, on the West Bank at Thebes. The complex includes a shaft that connects to multiple chambers, including one with demons holding knives.

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The tomb—which was built following the descriptions of the Tomb of Osiris, like the Osireion in Abydos, one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt—is centered around a statue of the god of the afterlife, Osiris. The emerald skinned deity is sitting in a central vaulted chapel facing a staircase with a 29.5-foot (9-meter) shaft in it. The shaft (in the center in the diagram below) connects to another room with a second shaft that goes down for 19.6 feet (6 meters) into two rooms.

Drawing of the tomb's architecture made by Raffaella Carrera, of the Min Project.

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The funerary room with the reliefs of demons holding knives is located west of the central chapel (on the left in the picture above.) It's connected to a 23-foot (7-meter) shaft right in front to another empty room. At the bottom of the same shaft there are two rooms full of debris.

Talking to the Spanish news agency EFE, the leader of the Spanish-Italian team that has uncovered the tomb, Dr. María Milagros Álvarez Sosa, said these demons are there to protect the body of the deceased. According to Alvarez Sosa, it's a tomb of "great importance":

It's a unique tomb in the Necropolis of Thebes because it embodies all the features of the mythological Tomb of Osiris.

The main chamber. You can see the statue of Osiris at the back, with the stairs and central shaft going down.

The entrance of the main structure of the tomb.

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The tomb was initially catalogued by Philippe Virey in 1887. Later in the 20th century there were some attempts to draw a plan of the main structure. Tomb Kampp -327- however (marked in red in the plan below) was never described and published. Álvarez told EFE that her team will start revealing the chambers during the next archeological campaign, in the fall of 2015.

Included for reference, from left to right: Osiris, Anubis—protector of graves—and Horus—god of the sun, war and protection.


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