Merneptah Owned Egypt’s Largest Sarcophagus

Bible and archaeology news

Pharaoh Merneptah, who infamously boasted in a victory stela of having laid waste to the Israelites in the waning years of the 13th century B.C.E.,* was buried in the largest sarcophagus ever commissioned by an Egyptian king. According to researchers and conservators at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Merneptah’s mummy was placed within a series of four nested sarcophagi, the outermost of which measures 13 feet long, 7 feet wide and more than 8 feet tall. Although the outer sarcophagus only survived in fragments after it was burned and broken into pieces around 3,000 years ago, the researchers, who are working to reconstruct and restore the giant burial box, believe it was the largest ever commissioned in ancient Egypt. While it remains uncertain why Merneptah wanted or needed such a large sarcophagus, the researchers believe the box’s large surfaces may have been needed to depict the extensive ritual illustrations and magical spells that are repeated numerous times across the four sarcophagi.

According to researchers and conservators at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Merneptah’s mummy was placed within a series of four nested sarcophagi, the outermost of which measures 13 feet long, 7 feet wide and more than 8 feet tall.

 

* See “The Merneptah Stela: Israel Enters History,” sidebar to “Face to Face: Biblical Minimalists Meet Their Challengers,” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 1997.

Read more about Merneptah’s sarcophagus.

Posted in Daily, People in the Bible.

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4 Responses

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  1. Robert says

    A Sarcastic Sarcophagus Story by Mercenary Merneptah!

  2. Stephen Ray says

    Hmmm! Let’s see, there seems to be a pattern here. Merneptah boasts of the destruction of Israel – gets the largest Sarcophagus.

    Haman, the one who tried to destroy the Jews in the Empire of Babylon – gets the tallest gibbet.

  3. Edward J. says

    Obviously, he was full of himself.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. It’s Good to Be King or “My Sarcophagus is Bigger Than Your Sarcophagus” | CyberBrethren - A Lutheran Blog linked to this post on December 11, 2012

    [...] post on the Biblical Archeology web site. The Egyptian King who boasted of “laying waste” to Israel happens also have had the [...]


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