A team of archeologists said they have unearthed an ancient Egyptian cemetery in the desert, though they’re unsure where the one million mummies originated.
“It’s hard to know where all these people were coming from,” project director Kerry Muhlestein said.
The archeologists have noted that the nearby village appears too small to have contributed to the cemetery and that a second ancient town nearby had its own burial site. Although a small pyramid is located close to the site, researchers have dismissed it as an explanation since it was built two centuries after the cemetery.
According to researchers, who have been excavating the burial grounds for the past 30 years, royalty was not buried in the cemetery. However, many of the dead were buried with small items like linen and glass.
“A lot of their wealth, as little as they had, was poured into these burials,” Muhlestein said.
The researchers have made a number of unusual discoveries since they began excavating, including one mummy who was more than 7 feet tall. In fact, he was so tall that those who buried him bent his body in half and tossed him into the grave. Muhlestein noted that those who buried the mummies attempted a full mummification process, meaning that the brain and tongue are often amazingly preserved.
Muhlestein explained that the team is working on creating a database of all the mummies they have excavated. When complete, researchers will be able to study burial patterns. Though the database is only in its early stages, the team has already noticed a pattern of burial by hair color.
Muhlestein presented the team’s findings in Toronto last month.