The wooden cover, which would have held a mummy in the past, had been cut in half, likely by smugglers who needed to fit the artifacts into a suitcase.
Image: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Two decorated covers of coffins that once contained mummies have been seized by Israeli authorities, authenticated and dated to thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt.
Inspectors of the Unit for Prevention of Antiquities Robbery found the artifacts while checking shops in a marketplace in the Old City of Jerusalem. The inspectors confiscated the items under suspicion of being stolen property.
The ancient covers are made of wood and adorned with "breathtaking decorations and paintings of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics," says the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Researchers examined the covers with carbon dating — which looks at a radioactive form of carbon in a sample to determine its age — and other tools, finding the artifacts are authentic. They dated one of the covers to the period between the 10th and eighth centuries B.C., considered the Iron Age, and the other to between the 16th and 14th centuries B.C. (Late Bronze Age)...