Egypt is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. It is a two-way ticket down the path of history. One way is people's access to the current Egyptian lifestyle where beaches, nightlife, and a regular 21st-century life exist; the second way is the richness of historical and ancient life that's filled to the brim with ruins, artifacts, mummies, and so much more.
Archaeologists in Egypt are living in excavation heaven! Not one day passes without a discovery of some sort, no matter how small or large. Egypt's ground is planted with seeds from the past.
In 2019 alone, archaeologists made dozens of historic findings. Six of the most prominent ones are listed below:
1. Ancient Egyptian head cones
Head cones were depicted as a major part of ancient Egyptian "dress-codes" in hieroglyphics. However, archaeologists had for decades analyzed these paintings, questioning the existence of head cones and what their purpose may had been.
On Dec. 10, a finding was published in the journal Antiquity speaking of the uncovering of two mummies donning these cones in graves that are nearly 3,300 years old in the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna, 320 kilometers south of Cairo. The cones are believed to have served an important funerary function.
2. Mummified lion cubs
Two 2,600-year-old mummified lion cubs were discovered on Nov. 23 in a tomb filled with cat statues and mummies in Saqqara, a necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital Memphis.
Around the burial site, archaeologists found approximately 100 statues and statuettes made of wood, stone, and metal, and mostly depicting cats. One ebony sculpture of the goddess Neith allowed archaeologists to determine the date and dynasty of the tomb itself.
3. Tattoos dating back 3,000 years
Infrared photography helped identify tattoos on seven mummies dating to at least 3,000 years ago at a site known as Deir el-Medina. At this site, only tattooed females have been identified.
Over the course of 100 years of research, tattoos had previously been found on just six ancient Egyptian mummies. In total, there are 13 tattooed mummies to date —12 females and one male.
The designs and placements of the tattoos differ from one to the other. The discoveries may help researchers figure out the underlying purpose of tattoos in ancient Egypt.
4. Map of the underworld
A coffin in the Egyptian necropolis of Deir Al-Barsha was found to have a piece of inscription from The Book of Two Ways, a combination of illustrated descriptions on the routes through the afterlife.
The 4,000-year-old inscription is considered by archaeologists to be the earliest known copy of the book of the underworld. Only a few of these texts have been discovered thus far, mainly on tomb walls, papyri, coffins, and burial masks.
5. Oldest Egyptian church
While working on a ruined basilica in May 2019, a Polish team of archaeologists - who had been working on that site since 2000 - happened to come upon what may be Egypt's oldest church dating back to the mid-4th century. The excavation site was located in the port city of Alexandria.
These same excavators came across a burial chapel at that location, containing the largest collections of ceramic fragments ever found in Egypt.
6. 2,500-year-old mummy of priest
A 26th-Dynasty sarcophagus containing the 2,500-year-old mummy of a high-priest of Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom and magic, was found in an ancient cemetery south of Cairo. The discoveries were revealed in a live broadcast in April 2019 on the American channel Discovery. The episode was titled Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live and was hosted by U.S. explorer Josh Gates.
A total of three mummies were uncovered during the two-hour event, including two high-priests and a female mummy whose sarcophagus "identified her as a singer in the temple of the Egyptian God Thoth."