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About Sarcophagi


A sarcophagus fragment discovered beneath the floor of a religious center belongs to Ramesses II, one of the best-known ancient Egyptian pharaohs, according to a new study.


Facts for Prelims

About Sarcophagi

Definition and Purpose:

  • A sarcophagus is a highly decorated coffin or a box-like container that houses a coffin.
  • Originally intended to be displayed above ground, they were sometimes entombed or placed in burial chambers.

Historical Usage:

  • Used to hold and protect the remains of important individuals throughout history, dating back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Rome, and Greece.
  • The term “sarcophagus” originates from the Greek words “sarx” (flesh) and “phagien” (to eat), literally translating to “eater of flesh.”
  • First used in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, the sarcophagus gained popularity across the ancient world.
  • Continued to be used in later European societies, often for high-status members of the clergy, government, or aristocracy.
  • Cultural Variations: Designs and details vary from one culture to another.
  • Material: Typically made of stone, with limestone being the most common. Other materials include granite, sandstone, and marble.
  • Decoration: Elaborately adorned with carvings, images, and inscriptions, often featuring the name of the deceased.
Archaeological Significance:
  • Sarcophagi are crucial artifacts for archaeologists and historians, providing insights into the art, culture, and beliefs of the societies that created them.
  • The carvings and inscriptions often contain valuable historical information.
  • Notable Example:
    • The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun is one of the most famous Egyptian sarcophagi.

-Source: The Hindu


June 2024