Egypt is a land of historic wonder. We are all aware of the incredible pyramids and the sphinx that can still be seen today. These incredible man-made wonders highlight an extraordinary past life that we can only try to imagine. Over the last 100 years, there have been numerous excavations of Egyptian sites. To most archaeologists, Egypt is the pinnacle of historic burials. For this reason, though, there is little left to discover. Every part of Egypt has been well and truly excavated in the search of hidden treasures and ancient burials. So much so that many feel there is nothing left to discover in the ancient world.
Of course, that is not true. Just like when you are completing a jigsaw and think you have found all the edge pieces, there is always one or two that lay in wait for discovery that evades your eyes. The same is true for the treasures of ancient Egypt. While there is no doubt that some discoveries still lie in the ground there waiting to be found it is more surprising that some discoveries are waiting to be found within the museums where treasures are presented.
Of course, archaeologists are incredibly diligent workers and if they find some piece of history they will go over it with a fine-tooth comb to ensure every artifact is discovered. Yet they occasionally miss something. Recently a sarcophagus that had been in possession of a museum was being opened for a new exhibit and a new discovery was made.
While it was always known that the sarcophagus had paintings and illustrations on the outside, it was never known that there was more to discover on the inside. The mummy that lay in the tomb covered the painting and only when it was removed did it reveal a painting that had likely never be seen for at least 3,000 years.
The painting is of an Egyptian goddess and was found in the sarcophagus of the Egyptian woman Ta-Kr-Hb. Once her body was lifted from its resting place, a large painting the entire length of the coffin was found. It depicted a goddess in a long red dress in a typical side profile Egyptian view. Experts say that it depicts the Goddess Amentet also known as “She of the West” meaning she represented those of the West of the Nile. Amentet was a goddess of the dead, she sat in a tree looking out to the underworld. While she was also known as a fertility goddess her main job was to greet the newly deceased in their tomb. She would welcome them food and drink providing enough sustenance that would allow them to travel to the ancient Egyptians paradise, known as the field of reeds.
It was easy for the archaeologists to realize that this goddess was being depicted because of the role she played and her importance to the deceased. In addition, she is always drawn in robes with the symbol of the west on her head. Her name “she of the west” is not just based on where she was from. It is also a reference to the west because that is where the sun sets and where the entrance to the underworld was assumed to be.
The incredible painting of her will now be refurbished and put on exhibition at the Perth Museum. While the original coffin took on a lot of damage in its original resting place, thanks to floods and vandals, it is now being restored to excellent condition. This 3,000-year-old piece contains so much incredible information and just like Amentet was a guide to the afterworld she is now a guide for us to an incredible piece of history.