Close to 1,700 bodies so far have been uncovered at the Fag el-Gamous (Way of the Water Buffalo) site, around 60 miles south of Cairo. But experts suspect that countless more have yet to be unearthed in the burial ground.
“We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It’s large, and it’s dense,” said project director Kerry Muhlestein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University (BYU), which has been examining the site for around 30 years, the Telegraph reported.
A nearby village has been deemed too small to hold such a massive cemetery, while the closest major settlements had their own burial grounds.
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“It’s hard to know where all these people were coming from,” Professor Muhlestein told Live Science.
A unique finding of the excavation was that the corpses appeared to be grouped together by hair color, with one section containing the remains of those with blonde hair and a separate section for those with red hair.
The bodies, which included a man that was over 7 feet tall, are thought to be of ordinary citizens, rather than the royalty found at many famous Egyptian burial sites. They were not buried in coffins, according to Muhlestein, and were in fact mummified – not by design but by the aid of natural environment.
“The burials are not in tombs, but rather in a field of sand,” he told RT.com.
“The people in the cemetery represent the common man. They are the average people who are usually hard to learn about because they are not very visible in written sources. A lot of their wealth, or the little that they had, was poured into these burials.”
His team found objects including glassware, jewelry and linen. The findings were presented to the Scholars Colloquim at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities last month in Toronto.
Over 1K Bodies Uncovered Near Cairo, Over a Million More Suspected