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Over 3,500-year-old sarcophagus found in Egypt

Cairo, Jan 31 - The discovery of a 3,550-year-old child's sarcophagus near the southern Egyptian city of Luxor could shed light on a little-known period of Ancient Egypt, said Jose Manuel Galan, the head of a Spanish team of archaeologists that made the find.

Experts who for the past three years have explored the vicinity of the tombs of Djehuty and Hery, two high-ranking dignitaries of the Egyptian court between 1500 and 1450 B. C., discovered the intact funeral receptacle lying unprotected on the ground a few days ago.

The archaeologists said they were surprised to find a burial container predating the era of the two officials at that site.

Unlike other sarcophagi, it was not found in a tomb on the hill that overlooks that section of Luxor's west bank, Galan said, adding that he now is interested in finding the remains of the young boy's parents.

Children normally were buried in family cemeteries, according to the expert, who currently is carrying out research at an ancient necropolis that "survived" the excavations of 19th and 20th century Egyptologists because other burial grounds were built on top of it.

The boy's sarcophagus, made of carved wood and painted white, dates to 1550 B. C., an era considered "important because very little is known" about it, Galan said.

It will require looking back at a time when Thebes (present-day Luxor) was a mere provincial capital.

The Theban rulers' reconquest and reunification of Egypt made that city the imperial capital and ushered in a prosperous era. (IANS)