A recent archaeological dig in Alexandria, Egypt has unearthed a large mysterious black sarcophagus. This dark granite sarcophagus is truly massive, coming in at 8.5 feet long and about 5 feet wide and 6 feet tall, but that isn’t what is so striking about this find.
The sarcophagus still has a layer of mortar between the lid and the rest of the actual tomb, meaning it hasn’t been opened in at least 2,000 years. That is a pretty huge deal considering looters have been around for centuries and have been responsible for many ruined historical items, like the missing nose on the Great Sphinx of Giza.
This discovery has actually sparked a debate online about whether or not to open the sarcophagus, with most people expressing wanting to open it up in the hopes of seeing Brendan Fraser showing up to save the day from a cursed mummy.
The video above does a good job explaining the sarcophagus, where it was found, the bust, as well as documenting some pretty cool pictures taken at the scene.
This discovery was made in the Sidi Gaber district in Alexandria, Egypt when archaeologists were conducting surveys before a new building was constructed. The sarcophagus was found buried about 16 feet below ground and was actually discovered with a bust of what is assumed to be the person buried in the tomb. That bust is made out of alabaster and archaeologists have traced it back roughly to the Ptolemies Greek era in 305 BCE. This tomb is believed to be the largest tomb to ever be discovered in Alexandria, which begs many questions as to why the sarcophagus is so damn massive. Was the guy in it a giant? Was he highly regarded in society? Was he a hated person in society?
To answer these questions the tomb is now being guarded so that archaeologists can now study the object and its location to help teach us more about this mysterious thing. Up until recently, Alexandria has not been a popular location for archaeological studies. That isn’t to say it wouldn’t make a great location, because it actually is. Alexandria is one of Egypt’s oldest cities, being founded in 331 BS by Alexander the Great. It covers a total area of about 1,000 square miles and has a population of 5.1 million people as of 2017. Because Alexandria is such a highly populated area researchers were never able to do studies and research since older buildings and landmarks were demolished for new building sites. It’s sad, but now archaeologists are putting more importance on studying the history of this ancient city.
In 2005, archaeologists were able to uncover parts of what they believe is the Library of Alexandria (also known as the Royal Library of Alexandria), which is actually where Archimedes studied. This building is considered to be one of, if not THE most significant library of the entire ancient world, so finding parts of it was a huge deal. The number of works (works were kept on papyrus scrolls) was unknown but it is estimated that there were at most 400,000 works. Unfortunately, this library is also well known for burning down in a massive cataclysmic fire that really symbolized a massive loss of knowledge for this time period. It is unclear what, or who, started the fire but it is clear that it was not the only fire in the library’s history and that the building was also damaged by an earthquake at some point. To top it off the building was more than likely completely destroyed by Julius Caesar sometime in 48 BC. So, for archaeologists to find even a small piece of the original building is kind of a big deal.
Alexandria is also home to a lot more ancient treasures that archaeologists have already uncovered. The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was a lighthouse that was over 300 feet tall and was built sometime between 280 and 260 BC during the Ptolemaic rule. This lighthouse is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was the tallest man-made structures for centuries throughout the world. This lighthouse stood for centuries until a series of three massive earthquakes tore it down, reducing it to ruins. Archaeologists discovered it in 1994 submerged in the Nile River and are now working on making it an underwater museum. This discovery sparked the idea that more ancient ruins could probably be found underwater, so archaeologists are now working out a way to explore the Nile River to see if they can find ruins and artifacts submerged underwater. The Nile is like a time capsule that archaeologists can now use to study and learn more about ancient Alexandria like never before.
For those wondering, here is a handy chart about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. You might notice that the only Wonders left standing are the pyramids of Giza, which are a true testament of time and the incredible way the pyramids were actually built.
|Seven Wonders of the Ancient World|
|Name||Date of construction||Location (Modern)||Date and Cause of destruction|
|Great Pyramids of Giza||2580 – 2560 BC||Giza, Egypt||Still in existence|
|Hanging Gardens of Babylon||Estimated around 600 BC||Hillah, Iraq||Destroyed around 1 AD, unknown how it was destroyed or what happened.|
|Temple of Artemis at Ephesus||Estimated around 600 to 625 BC||Selcuk, Turkey||Was destroyed around 356 BC, then again in 262 AD. The first time was arson and was rebuilt, the second time it was plundered and was never rebuilt.|
|Statue of Zeus at Olympia||466 – 456 BC (for the temple) and 435 BC (for the statue)||Olympia, Greece||Destroyed between the 5th and 6th century AD, it was disassembled and then reassembled in Constantinople and was then destroyed by a fire in Constantinople.|
|Mausoleum at Halicarnassus||351 BC||Bodrum, Turkey||Destroyed between the 12th and 15th century by a series of earthquakes that reduced it to ruins.|
|Colossus of Rhodes||292 – 280 BC||Rhodes, Greece||Was destroyed in 226 BC by the 226 BC Rhodes earthquake.|
|Lighthouse of Alexandria||Around 280 BC||Alexandria, Egypt||Was destroyed between 1303 and 1480 AD primarily by earthquakes.|