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The adolescent jewels without name

He took them to the grave.There were four necklaces, one of them with formidable accounts of amethyst, cornalina, amber, quartz and blue glass.And, next to a small but beautiful jewelry trousseau, he left no track of his identity.As if he wanted to evaporate.One of the most veteran Spanish missions in Egypt has found an intact coffin of a 15 -year -old teenager left on the ground 3,600 years ago in a hill of Thebes, the current Luxor.Her jewelry is an open book on the international trade of the time.

"We do not know his name but he must have been an elite girl," acknowledges the Independent José Manuel Galán, a researcher at the CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Research) and coordinator of the DJEHUTI project, a Spanish mission that has been excavating two decades on the hillsideof Dra Abu el Naga, on the western shore of Luxor, about 600 kilometers south of Cairo.“We do not know if she was a member of the royal family or she was linked to a high dignitary.She was undoubtedly an important person to bury himself, ”he adds.

The mysterious deceased, who died before reaching adulthood, appeared with four necklaces.Two of them were made entirely in Fayenza (ceramic with a vitreous finish) of different shades of blue.The third mixed Fayenza accounts with glass green.And the fourth was composed of semi -precious stones, made of 74 pieces in different ways."It has a central piece that is an amber hawk, representing the god Horus, and on the sides two skirts (Egyptian amulets shaped like a squad beetle)," says the archaeologist.

At that time the city of the hundred doors was marginalized, with a King cloudy to the south and one semita to the north.“They are out of play because between both territories they communicate along the route of the oasis and thebes are thus out of international trade.An argument that is not entirely true.In the burials of the Tebana elite are luxury vessels that come from Nubia.This necklace, if it is confirmed that it is a glass of Syria, it would be testimony that in Thebes they could get goods from the north, ”he emphasizes.The investigations also suggest a change of chronology.“Egyptologists argue about when blue glass began to be used in Egypt and whether it was import or not.Our finding could advance the import date in a century. ”

"The necklace is a beautiful testimony of international trade at a time when Thebes was out of the main routes"

José Manuel Galán, coordinator of the DJEHuty project

A sarcophagus ‘Encalado’

Las joyas de la adolescente sin nombre

The jewels that can modify the story appeared in a wooden coffin, probably from Sicomoro, a fig tree of the species Ficus Sycomorus.The sarcophagus comes from a single tree trunk and measures 1.75 meters high and 0.33 wide.Inside the teenager rested 1.59 meters high.

The box was painted with a layer of whitish plaster.“It's not about paint but plaster diluted in water.That could have worked as a preparation layer and then paint it with colors but the reality is that it leaves intentionally, blank, something also very peculiar, ”she argues."I believe that the idea is to evoke linen bandages, make the anthropomorphic coffin a mummy in itself."

The coffin was never buried but was left on the ground in a confine of the Dra Abu the Naga cemetery.“We find it on the ground.The first impression was that the looters had abandoned him but now I have very clear that it was not.It was left on the ground intentionally and was not found in the 19th -century excavations even though one meter beyond the mother rock. ”

A peculiarity that the mission continues to unravel.“We are still surprised that intact coffins are left on the ground.It is something that has not documented in other excavations.In our area we have found coffins on the ground since 2000 B.C.Up to 1,000 B.C.There are a thousand years of history of the necropolis in which it seems that one of the options of the burial is to leave the coffins as is and that is striking, ”says Galán.“They are not abandoned because they are embedded with stones.They have no protection on top.They are covered only with earth. ”

«We found the coffin on the ground.The first impression was that the looters had abandoned him but now I have very clear that it was not so »

José Manuel Galán, coordinator of the DJEHuty project

Dodged the hunters

In the arid terroir that Horada, the team has detected another fact that attracts attention.“It is curious that in our site there is a proportion of women and children greater than in other places, greater than expected.I don't know what to be due, ”admits the researcher, who prepares a conference following the thread of this finding.In the case of minors, coffins are placed sideways."They are anthropomorphs and stop side and for the coffin not to turn it with stones," he says.

And despite their location, which made them theoretically more fragile in the faceExcavation ran into them."Interestingly, leaving on the ground and outside the tombs we would think that they are more exposed but the looters go to the wells and ignore the coffins on the ground without hardly protection," Galán confirms.

The quinceañera also raffled the nineteenth, chaotic and fleeting excavations, always to hunt objects to fill showcases."Relatively close to the coffin we find a newspaper role of the late nineteenth century," admits the Spanish archaeologist.“We find next to intact areas other extremely excavated, to the very rock.In the nineteenth century they excavated making holes. ”The owner of the coffin appeared, on the other hand, for the 21st century with serious ailments.“The mummification in the XVII dynasty was very bad.That makes the body deteriorate much more and affect the bandage.The bones are loose and the almost discarded bandages, ”says the“ mud ”(director, in Arabic) of the DJEHuty project.

The deceased was subjected to a complete radiography.The analysis of her teeth and hip helped decipher her age.“Little else we could do.We requested other necklace analyzes but our permission was denied, ”says Galán.The chains between 61 and 70 centimeters in length, one of them is already exhibited in the showcases of the Luxor Museum, did not inhabit the beyond hung around the teenager's neck.“They were left in a handful on top of her chest.They put them after treating her body.In full mummification process, a relative carefully deposited her beads on her chest, ”describes the archaeologist.

Identity deprived

Its flirtatious jewelry collection is completed by two earrings, found in the left ear, and two rings, one in each hand, performed one in bone and another in blue glass with an gate and a string around the finger.A treasure that the thieves of tombs, who sought precisely semi -precious stones and stones, forgot to enter the depths of the wells.

The bruised body and its trousseau were dusted a few meters from the entrance courtyard to Djehuty's tomb, in an adobe chapel of 1600 B.C.Without more information than his mummy and her jewelry.Private name and genealogy.“You can't regret the information you don't have.You have to celebrate the information that you can obtain, ”says Galán, tanned in searches that are battles against the impossible and desirable.“The coffin has no registration.Perhaps some object of the trousseau that we have not found could have had the name but these coffins are anonymous. ”

One of the many enigmas that keep the sands of Egypt.“How is it possible that if the identity was so important, they were buried in anonymity.It is interesting to go around.In the wells looted, on the other hand, we find the mummies dismembered next to fragments of the coffin and objects with the name of the individual.These coffins left on the ground have the common denominator that they are anonymous and that they have no more trousseau than the one that enters into the sarcophagus, ”says Galán, who is still in charge of the discovery.“The circumstances of death are not clear.Maybe it was precipitated, ”he warns.One of the few certainties is the well -off status of the quinceañera that dodged the hunters."Anyone who can pay and be buried with these beads can be considered of a high middle class," he concludes.