It’s 2018 and archaeologists are working in a cemetery near the ancient Egyptian temple of Kom Ombo. They’ve just discovered the body of a young woman, which, given the site of their research, isn’t all together surprising. But careful investigation reveals something more about this find that’s both highly unusual and achingly poignant.
In fact, this woman was buried many centuries before the construction of the ruined Kom Ombo temple we see today. There had been a temple on this same site long before, during the era of the New Kingdom, which existed between the 16th century B.C. and the 11th century B.C. The beginning of that period is just around the time when the woman is thought to have died.
The Kom Ombo temple is found near the banks of the River Nile, some 530 miles south of Egypt’s modern capital Cairo. It was built between 180 and 47 B.C., during the period of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Egypt at this time was under the influence of ancient Greek culture, after Alexander the Great had conquered the region in 332 B.C.