New tombs found from ancient Alexandria
A large section of ancient Alexandria's eastern necropolis has been discovered in the Ibrahimiya district of Alexandria, reports Nevine El-Aref
This week, during excavation work being carried out in the area neighbouring the Ibrahimiya tunnel, Egyptian archaeologists found another section of the eastern necropolis of ancient Alexandria that once stretched from Shatbi to the Mustafa Kamel district.
The newly discovered area contains four rock-hewn tombs from the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine eras as well as a number of tombs at a deeper level and a rich funerary collection.
"This is a very important discovery that adds more to the archaeological map of Alexandria," Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim told Al-Ahram Weekly.
Ibrahim said the discovery would allow scientists to decipher more about the history of ancient Alexandria and would also add another tourist destination to the beautiful city of Alexandria. He said that this and similar excavations were conducted as part of archaeological inspections routinely carried out at the request of constructors who have purchased the land prior to the commencement of construction. According to Egyptian law, every piece of land should be subject to archaeological inspection before it can be claimed as a free zone for construction.
Among the new discoveries at the site is a very finely decorated clay container from the second century BC known as a hidra, a large pot with a long neck that held the cremated ashes of the deceased.
Mohamed Mustafa, director-general of Alexandria antiquities, said the most distinguished tomb was the one dating from the Graeco-Roman period which included a wide open court with two cylindrical rock columns in the centre. Two burial shafts filled with human skeletons and clay pots were also uncovered inside the court, along with a tombstone engraved with the deceased's name.
Mustafa told the Weekly that the tomb walls still bore a layer of plaster and traces of red paint.
The second tomb has eight rock-hewn steps and stretches under a modern building, while the third and fourth tombs are located on a deeper level and held a number of clay lamps and pots of different shapes and sizes.
Within the debris, Mustafa pointed out, archaeologists discovered a small burial of a woman and her son dating from the late Roman period.
Following the discovery the area has now been claimed as a protected archaeological site and any construction work is prohibited.