Archaeologists discover the Tomb of Osiris in the ancient cemetery grounds of Necropolis, located off of Egypt’s West Bank of Thebes. The underground tunnel is complete with a labyrinth of shafts and chambers.

So far, researchers, have uncovered multiple carvings of Osiris, whom ancient Egyptians worshipped as the god of the afterlife. According to the Spanish news agency EFE, the tomb is a smaller version of the Osireion, which was discovered in 1902 and believed to have been constructed in the city of Abydos during the reign of Pharaoh Seti.

Researchers believe the Tomb of Osiris was erected during the 25th dynasty, which puts its construction anywhere from 760 BC to 656 BC.

The Tomb of Osiris’ discovery includes a large main hall held in place by five massive pillars and a staircase leading to an underground funeral room. There is also a second staircase with a 30 feet shaft that descends into two additional rooms, which are currently inaccessible due to debris. The center of the vault also includes a carving of Osiris.

This actually isn’t the first time the tomb was uncovered. It was partially discovered back in the 1880s by archaeologist Philippe Virey. Some attempts were also made to map the main portion of the tomb in the 20th century. However, it’s not until now that the structure has been made fully accessible through extensive excavations. Since the tomb is a burial chamber, bodies (or mummies) are expected to be discovered.

In Egypt mythology, Osiris is the deity of the underworld who was killed by the god Set, who is the god of storms. Upon the death of Osiris, the body was sealed in a coffin and thrown into the Nile River. The body was later recovered by the goddess Isis but was soon cut into pieces and thrown back into the river by Set. Isis, though, recovered the individual body parts and bandaged them together. From thereafter, Osiris became the god of the dead and is often depicted as a boats man ferrying the dead to their destination for the afterlife.

The Tomb of Osiris’ discovery has prompted plans for excavations that are expected to be carried out through fall. Whatever they find will surly shed more insight into one of the world’s most fascinating ancient civilizations.

[photo credit: Caroline et Louis VOLANT]