A vast funerary building dating to Ptolemaic Egypt and decorated with portraits of the long deceased was uncovered in the Garza archeological site.
Heritage Daily reports that the structure was discovered at the Garza archeological site which has been under examination since 2016. Located about 50 miles south of Cairo, it was established in the third century BCE as part of an agricultural reclamation project launched by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (309–246 BCE).
The funerary building was constructed from stone blocks and descends several floors into the ground. A ring of arched doorways lead to burial chambers, some of which contained intricately decorated wooden coffins carved with ancient Egyptian and Greek glyphs.
The most notable find, however, is a collection of well-preserved Fayum portraits. Also called mummy portraits, these detailed portrayals of the dead were painted directly on the wooden coffins beginning in Egypt’s Roman period (100 BCE). The striking images ranged in style from realistic to highly stylized and have become icons of the period, with many housed in museums across the world.
This is the first significant discovery of Fayum portraits in over a century, since excavations by British archaeologist Flinders Petrie in Hawara in 1887, and German archaeologist, Von Kaufmann in 1910.
The team also found a terracotta statue with the combined traits of Isis and Aphrodite within one of the wooden coffins, along with a preserved cache of papyrus documents in both Demotic and Greek writing.