Sarcophagus Of Pharaoh Ramesses II Found In Abydos, Egypt

Conny Waters – AncientPage.com – Ramesses II, the legendary Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty of Egypt (1292–1190 B.C.), has long been recognized as one of the greatest and most powerful rulers in ancient Egyptian history. While it was previously known that his tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor had been looted and his mummy transferred to a wooden coffin during the 21st Dynasty (circa 1069-943 BC), a remarkable breakthrough has recently been made.

Sarcophagus Of Pharaoh Ramesses II Found In Abydos, Egypt

Scientists have successfully identified the long-lost sarcophagus of the famous pharaoh. Archaeologists Ayman Damarani and Kevin Cahail re-examined a sarcophagus found in 2009 in Abydos, Egypt, and revealed it to be Ramesses II’s final resting place.

Abydos holds immense archaeological significance. It served as a renowned royal necropolis, housing the tombs of early pharaohs and mortuary cult enclosures of the First Dynasty rulers. Beneath the desert sands, numerous tombs remain undisturbed, safeguarding the millennia-old secrets of this sacred ground, which flourished and was revered for its sanctity. However, it is unfortunate that many tombs have fallen victim to looting, compromising the preservation of these invaluable historical treasures.

Sarcophagus Of Pharaoh Ramesses II Found In Abydos, Egypt

Long side of the granite sarcophagus identified as that of Ramesses II. Credit: Kevin Cahail

The groundbreaking identification of Pharaoh Ramesses II’s sarcophagus was made possible by the study of a fragment of this sarcophagus by Frédéric Payraudeau, a professor and researcher of Egyptology at the University of Sorbonne, the university’s Centre for Egyptian Research, and the research laboratory Orient et Méditerranée (University of Sorbonne/CNRS/Collège de France/Université Panthéon-Sorbonne/EPHE-PSL).

According to Professor Payraudeau, the sarcophagus exhibits intriguing features that shed light on its historical significance. The decorations and hieroglyphic texts indicate that it was repurposed for a second burial, this time for a prominent priest named Menkheperre, who lived during the 21st Dynasty around 1000 B.C. However, the original owner of this remarkable artifact remains shrouded in mystery.

The sarcophagus’s exceptional craftsmanship and quality suggest that it was initially commissioned for a highly esteemed individual from the Egyptian New Kingdom era. Through a meticulous examination of the re-engraved hieroglyphs, Professor Payraudeau made a remarkable discovery—the cartouche, or royal name, of the legendary Pharaoh Ramses II himself, was present within the inscriptions.

How Ramesses II Became The Greatest Pharaoh In Egypt

Statue of Ramesses II at Abu Simbel – Credit: Adobe Stock – Adwo

The recent discovery sheds light on the burial practices and tomb activities surrounding the great king’s final resting place. It has been confirmed that the king was initially interred in a gold coffin, now lost, placed within a first alabaster sarcophagus, found destroyed in his tomb. This alabaster sarcophagus was placed inside a larger granite sarcophagus, which has now been identified. After the tomb was looted, the high priest of the 21st Dynasty recovered this granite sarcophagus for his own use and had it transported to Abydos.

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This finding provides further evidence that during that period, the Valley of the Kings was subject to looting and witnessed subsequent rulers’ reuse of funerary objects. For instance, Pharaoh Psusennes I had appropriated one of the sarcophagi belonging to Merenptah, the successor of Ramses II, for his own use.

Written by Conny Waters – AncientPages.com Staff Writer

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