Two ancient embalming workshops, one for humans and one for animals, were found in the Saqqara necropolis southeast of Cairo. Workshops found under a hill near the temple of the cat-goddess Bastet date back to the 30th Dynasty (380-343 BC) and the Ptolemaic Dynasty (305-30 BC).
The workshops were rectangular in shape and were divided into rooms that were used for different stages of the mummification process. The animal mummification workshop was made of clay and stone floors. The five stone beds used to embalm the bodies of sacred animals still stood in the room. Tools and materials for mummification have also been found in space.
The human mummification workshop also had stone beds, albeit larger ones. They are 6.5 feet long and 20 inches wide. The bodies were laid out on beds for the process of mummification – cleaning the body, removing organs, applying embalming fluids. A number of materials were found in the workshop, including wooden stirring sticks, rolls of linen, earthenware pots containing nitrate salts, and black resin.
The team also discovered two tombs, one from the Old Kingdom, one from the New. The New Kingdom tomb belonged to an 18th Dynasty priest named Men Heber. He died around 1400 BC. The brightly colored paintings in his tomb depict the dead in various functions.
Old Kingdom tomb inscriptions identify its owner as Ne Hesut Ba, chief scribe of the 5th Dynasty and priest of Horus and Maat, who died around 2400 BC. In addition to his duties as a priest and scribe, Ne Hesut Ba was responsible for digging waterways for the pharaoh. An alabaster statue depicting him was found in the niche of the tomb, and wall paintings depict him engaged in religious rituals and daily activities.