An eerie blackened ‘tomb’ belonging to Osiris – the A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ Egyptian god of gods – has been unearthed.
It is thought that the symbolic burial site was used in rituals to connect the god of the afterlife’s vast powers with the pharaohs.
The unusual structure was built during the 25th Dynasty between 760 and 525BC and was uncovered at the Al-Gorna necropolis on the west bank of the River Nile near Luxor, Egypt.
Announced by Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-DamAcaty, the ‘Tomb of Min’ is based on the mythical tomb of Osiris, complete with shafts, chapel, a large hallway, burial chamber, carvings and even a statue of the god, The Luxor Times reported.
A staircase leading down from a pillared hallway cuts through the bedrock to a chapel with a vaulted ceiling, which holds a statue of Osiris.
Osiris is traditionally depicted as a green-skinned, bearded man whose legs are mummified. He is often seeing wearing a pointed crown with ostrich feathers and holding a crook and flail.
Pharaohs and other rich A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ Egyptians were associated with Osiris in de̳a̳t̳h̳ if they paid for assimilation rituals, which meant they could rise from the dead with Osiris and inherit eternal life.
The statue is surrounded by a corridor to isolate and protect what is thought to be the most important part of the tomb.
Archaeologists of the Spanish and Italian-led excavation note that the symbolism of Osiris is present throughout the building, including a staircase leading to the underworld, the statue on its ‘island’ and an empty corridor symbolising a river.
On the west side of the corridor, a funerary chamber is decorated with reliefs of demons and deities holding knives, which are thought to be armed guardians standing guard over the tomb’s occupant.
A burial chamber lies below the statue, linking the dead with Osiris.
On the west side of the corridor of the Osiris statue, another room contains a shaft 22ft (seven metres) deep, leading to two empty rooms and two more debris-filled rooms that are yet to be explored.
The two chambers may have escaped the attention of archaeologist Philippe Virey who discovered the tomb in the 1880s, the Egyptian Department of Antiquities said.
While he made some attempts to plot it on a map, the significance of the site has been ignored until now.
Deep inside the A̳n̳c̳i̳e̳n̳t̳ structure, another staircase in front of the statue of Osiris goes down 29ft (nine metres) leading to a room with another shaft, which is thought to be the deepest part of the funerary complex.
It is not known when excavtions will continue.