Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered stunning gold jewelry, including a ring depicting the “god of fun,” in a burial more than 3,300 years old, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced.
The burial is located in the northern part of the ancient city of Akhetaten (present-day Amarna), about 186 miles (300 km) south of Cairo. This city was built by the pharaoh Akhenaten (reigned about 1353 BC to 1336 BC), who tried to change the polytheistic religion of Egypt by centering it around the worship of Aten, the sun disc . He moved the capital of Egypt from Thebes to modern day Luxor to the newly built desert city of Akhetaten. Ultimately Akhenaten’s religious reforms were undone by his son, Tutankhamunand the new city was abandoned shortly after Akhenaten’s death.
The newly discovered piece of jewelry includes three rings, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said on Dec. 13 statement (opens in new tab). One of them has an engraved image of Bess, who was known as “the god of fun,” the statement said. Ancient images of Bes are often found in Egypt. the deity is depicted as a dwarf who, in addition to playing music and entertaining, also protected women during childbirth, wrote George Hart, who was an Egyptologist at the British Museum, in his book “The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (opens in new tab)(Routledge, 2005).
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Another ring contains an Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription with the name “Sat I Plant Tawi,” meaning “Lady of the Earth,” the statement said. It is not clear who this woman is. ONE gold a necklace was also found with the burial.
It is not clear who the burial is for, why this piece of jewelry was buried with them, or if the burial was found in a cemetery or another location in the northern part of the city. Excavations at Amarna are continuing and details of the findings will be published soon. Anna Stevens (opens in new tab), assistant director of the Amarna Project excavations and lecturer at The Center for Ancient Cultures at Monash University in Australia, told Live Science in an email. She added that her team will publish their findings in a few months and will have more information after that.
Live Science reached out to experts not involved in the dig, but none had responded at the time of publication.