Ancient Sarcophagus Yields Horrible-Smelling Secret

Sewage water leaked in over centuries
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2018 4:47 AM CDT
Updated Jul 20, 2018 6:19 AM CDT
Sewage water is the enemy of mummification.   (Ministry of Antiquities)
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(Newser) – "The sarcophagus has been opened, but we have not been hit by a curse," declared the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquities after opening a huge black sarcophagus that had been untouched for 2,000 years. Those prone to queasiness might have disagreed. Sewage water had leaked into the Alexandria sarcophagus over the centuries through a crack, meaning that instead of well-preserved mummies, antiquities head Mostafa Waziry and his team found three skeletons, a vile red liquid, and a terrible smell when they opened the sarcophagus, the Guardian reports.

The discovery of the massive sarcophagus two weeks ago sparked rumors that the tomb of Alexander the Great could have been found, but archaeologists believe the three bodies were those of soldiers, judging by the lack of elaborate death masks and the arrow wound in one of the skulls, the Week reports. Waziry spoke to the media to dispel rumors that the sarcophagus was cursed, the BBC reports. "We've opened it and, thank God, the world has not fallen into darkness," he said. "I was the first to put my whole head inside the sarcophagus... and here I stand before you ... I am fine." (A less fragrant find was recently made at an ancient necropolis south of Cairo.)

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