A 3,000-YEAR-OLD Egyptian sarcophagus has been discovered in the living room of an Essex pensioner.
The ancient Egyptian coffin is believed to have been the burial vessel for a noblewoman in the year 1000 BC, and auctioneers were shocked to find it propped up against the wall in the house in Essex during a routine visit.
It’s believed that the sarcophagus was given to the woman owner of the house around 60 years ago as a gift, and was probably bought from a museum that was closing down. Auctioneers described the find as “extremely rare” during a routine evaluation of items when the woman moved to a nursing home.
“The hairs went up on the back of my neck when I walked into the drawing room,” said Mark Stacey – the expert from Reeman Dansie auctioneers – who discovered the item. “It stood out like a sore thumb. It was stood up against a wall and was being used as a decorative item. It was the sort of thing you would expect to see in the home of the Addams Family. It is certainly the oldest item I have been asked to look at in my career and probably one of the most exciting. It would have been used as a coffin for a mummified woman and placed in something like a burial chamber.”
James Grinter, managing director of Reeman Dansie, explained that in Victorian times it was quite common for British people to collect ancient Egyptian objects. “People used to have parties where they would unwrap mummies for entertainment,” he explained. “The mummy inside this coffin is long gone but the coffin itself has survived.”
The Essex sarcophagus could fetch in the region of £6,000 (€7,600) when it goes up for auction on November 24.