Swedish archaeologists have uncovered a previously unknown Egyptian necropolis containing dozens of tombs and ancient artifacts near Gebel el Silsila on the Nile’s west bank. The team, from Lund University, has dated the tombs back to the New Kingdom, 3,400 years ago. Unfortunately, the researchers found that the site has been looted multiple times and damaged from erosion, however, there is still much valuable information to be gathered from the find.

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So far, the team has documented the existence of over 40 tombs, along with a small shrine. The crypts were cut directly into the bedrock by workers millennia ago, and some are even preserved with fragments of their original lids. Interestingly enough, these lids are completely undecorated — normally, shrines like these would include carvings with detailed information about the people buried within. It’s believed that the identity of the deceased may be obscured due to the tombs being reused over time.

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Related: The Oldest Pyramid in Egypt is Being Destroyed by its Own Restoration Team

There are some clues, however, to the identities of those buried in the tombs. Though only some of the bones survive, an analysis indicates that they belong to men, women, and children of all ages. Some of the nearby artifacts also indicate those buried were of a high social status — including beads, amulets, and mummy wrappings. Other objects discovered in the necropolis are storage vessels, beer jugs, and votive vessels. Researchers believe that the presence of the tombs indicates there was more permanent settlement in the surrounding area than was previously believed to be the case.

+ Gebel el Silsila Project

Via Hyperallergic