'Door To Afterlife' Unearthed At Karnak

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An Egyptian excavation team has unearthed a 3,500-year-old door to the afterlife from the tomb of a high-ranking Egyptian official near Karnak temple in Luxor, Egypt’s Culture Minister Farouk Hosni announced on Monday.

Engraved with religious texts, the six-foot-tall red granite door belonged to the tomb of User, the chief minister of Queen Hatshepsut, the long-ruling 15th century B.C. queen from the New Kingdom.

The door, known as a false door, was meant to be a threshold that allowed the deceased and his wife to interact with the world of the living.

This “interaction” was not eternal for User. More than 1,000 years after his death, during the Roman period, the massive false door was removed from the tomb and used in the wall of a Roman structure.

The uncle of the well-known Rekhmire, who was King Tuthmosis III’s chief minister, User was a powerful man. He took office in the fifth year of Queen Hatshepsut’s reign, about 1474 B.C.

User held the position of vizier for 20 years, also earning the titles of prince and mayor of the city. Viziers in ancient Egypt were powerful officials who oversaw the running of the kingdom’s intricate bureaucracy.

A chapel of User was also found at Gebel el-Silsila, a mountain quarry site at Aswan, showing the importance of the post of vizier in ancient Egypt, especially during the 18th Dynasty.

Picture: courtesy of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.