The monumental red granite sarcophagus of Karabasken discovered by the team is a unique example of a Kushite sarcophagus in an elite tomb.
The descent to the burial chamber was found in the center of the cult room, which features six niches on the north and south walls and remains of the false door on the west wall. Excavation work in this area has revealed an angled descent, 900cm long and 225cm wide, leading to a burial chamber (574cm x 354cm x 406cm). The burial chamber was filled with flood deposit up to the ceiling. Clearing of the burial chamber uncovered a monumental red granite sarcophagus occupying almost the whole space of the room.
The dimensions of the sarcophagus are as follows: Height 241cm ( base 163cm, lid 77cm), Length 306cm, Width 130cm, Thickness of the base 18cm. The base of the sarcophagus is a rectangular box with a rounded head end. The lid is vaulted with a convex upper surface and an almost flat lower surface. It is decorated with a single horizontal band 27cm in width. No inscriptions were found on the exterior surface of the sarcophagus.
The base and the lid show deliberate damage in the head area and on the left side close to the foot end. This is evidence of two attempts to break into the sarcophagus. The interior of the sarcophagus was flooded after the first attempt.
Photos by Katherine Blakeney
The architectural features of the descent and the burial chamber were evidently designed to lower down and house a large sarcophagus contemporary to the original tomb. The royal features in the burial apartment and sarcophagus of Karabasken are a manifestation of the Kushite revival of past traditions and assimilation of royal and temple features in the elite tombs of this period.
Photo by Katherine Blakeney