The site contains at least 14 tombs from the era when ancient Rome controlled Egypt, fromÂ 30 B.C. to A.D. 395. Jewelry, funerary masks, and pottery were also found, though the sand-covered tombs have been damaged by humidity and seeping groundwater.
Measuring just 3.2 feet (97 centimeters) long and carved with the finery of an influential woman, the sarcophagus remains something of a mystery.
“When I saw it for the first time, I thought it was a dwarf. … ,” said Mahmoud Affifi, director of Cairo and Giza antiquities for Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. “Maybe she was a small girl, but [even] now we don’t know,” he said.