National Geographic has released rare footage of an Ancient Egyptian ‘funeral home.’ The spooky never-before-seen video shows a sprawling ‘city of the dead’ beneath the sands of Saqqara, 20 miles south of Cairo.
Archaeologist team leader Dr. Ramadan Hussein said: “The tomb contains mummies of both rich and poor people, as well as evidence of the funeral packages and quality of goods on offer.
“The evidence we uncovered shows the embalmers had very good business sense. They re-used chambers and re-sold sarcophagi to maximize the capacity of the complex.”
Archaeologists actually discovered the 600BC ‘funeral home’ back in 2018 and have been analysing it for the past two years. Nothing like this has ever been found before.
The site has enabled us to learn more about the business of death in Egypt and indicates lots of mummification workshops likely existed across the ancient land.
The burial complex will feature on a new four part series called Kingdom of the Mummies. The Nat Geo and BBC Studios production follows a team into the underground chambers as they open four sealed, 2,600 year-old sarcophagi.
The funeral complex has dedicated areas where organ removals, embalming and burials would have taken place.
One of the most grisly discoveries is a mummy buried with six jars holding organs.
This is unusual because normal mummies are only buried with four canopic jars.
Archaeologists also found the first gilded silver mummy mask seen in Egypt since 1939. However, arguably the spookiest find was evidence of a previously unknown cult that worshipped a snake goddess.
Inscriptions on three mummies found in the complex indicate they were ‘Priests of Niut-Shaes.’
This previously unknown goddess is thought to have taken the form of a snake and had a dedicated group of believers.
The funeral complex also reveals what kind of funeral ancient Egyptians could receive based on their wealth.
For example, those who couldn’t afford alabaster stone organ jars may be offered painted clay instead.
We already knew death in Egypt was big business just by looking at the pyramids or the vast golden treasures in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
However, the ‘funeral home’ discovery is also helping to enhance what we know about the death of ordinary ancient Egyptians.
Kingdom of the Mummies premieres on National Geographic on May 12 in the US before rolling out worldwide.