Giant mysterious black sarcophagus found in Egypt

Mystery surrounds black granite sarcophagus found with alabaster head

Archaeologists have discovered a black granite sarcophagus in an ancient cemetery deep underneath Alexandria, Egypt.

Also found was an alabaster head, thought to belong to the tomb's owner.

The mysterious coffin is 265cm (104in) long, 185cm (72in) tall, and 165cm (65in) wide, making it the largest that has ever been found in the city of Alexandria.

Under Egyptian law, due to the vast history which is associated with the country, construction firms are required to commission an archaeological dig on site before they begin building.

A layer of mortar between the lid and the body of the sarcophagus indicated it had not been opened since being closed in antiquity, Supreme Council of Antiquities general secretary Dr Mostafa Waziri said.

The nearly three-metre long by two-metre high sarcophagus was discovered in a long-concealed tomb below the earth during a survey of a plot of land for a building construction.

The next step is for researchers to find out what is inside the coffin without damaging it.

For thousands of years, similar Egyptian tombs have been plundered by grave robbers, so when archeologists have made similar discoveries in the past, sarcophagi have often been found ripped open. The tomb was found in the city's Sidi Gaber district and researchers believe the site dates back to the Ptolemaic period between 305 BCE and 30 BCE.

But even if the tomb has no connection to the ruler, it is still a significant find as it is relatively rare to find an unopened sarcophagus in Alexandria, according to Smithsonian.com. Just me? Well, great news if you're me: a huge 2,000-year-old sarcophagus has been unearthed in Egypt and, so far, we have no idea what's inside it.

Image: The alabaster head could be the owner the tomb.

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