11/07/2018 5:45 PM IST | Updated 12/07/2018 4:56 AM IST

Black Sarcophagus Unearthed In Egypt... And It's Still Sealed

The ancient coffin is the largest ever found in Alexandria.

An ancient sarcophagus made of black granite was uncovered recently in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria, Egypt, according to news reports.

Because the lid was sealed with mortar, experts believe the coffin has not been opened in 2,000 years, Smithsonian Magazine said. That is unusual because looters have picked through a multitude of tombs and burial chambers over the centuries.

The size of the sarcophagus is of particular significance, Science Alert said. It measures 72.8 inches by 104.3 inches by 65 inches and is the largest coffin ever found in Alexandria. 

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An ancient tomb dating to the Ptolemaic period in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria, Egypt.

The tomb, which is believed to date to the Ptolemaic period, roughly 305 to 30 B.C., was found about 16 feet below ground during archaeological excavations ahead of construction of a new building, Smithsonian said. Also found near the tomb was a worn alabaster bust, perhaps a depiction of the man whose body was buried in the coffin. The identity of the body is unknown. 

Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great, had been ignored by archaeologists for decades because a city of 5 million people had been constructed over the ruins, Andrew Lawler of Smithsonian said. But recently more effort has been made to find and preserve antiquities there.

Egyptian Antiquities Ministry/AFP via Getty Images
An alabaster head found near the sarcophagus is believed to be a depiction of the owner of the tomb.