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    UPDATE: Mummy found in Syria

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    DAMASCUS, September 7 (RIA Novosti, Nadim Zuaui) - Syrian archaeologists have discovered a sarcophagus with the best-preserved mummy ever in a tower tomb in Palmyra.

    The two-meter-long conical sarcophagus is made of stone. The name of Hanbal Saadi, who the scientists believe was the owner of the tomb, is engraved upon it.

    The mummy is 175 centimeters (5 feet 9 inches) long.

    The discovery was a surprise for the archaeologists. Ancient residents of this town are known to have buried their relatives in separate niches that lined the walls of a burial chamber.

    According to scientists, the rich in ancient Palmyra could afford to build large burial chambers and tomb towers not only for their own relatives, but also to lease them to people not connected with them by family ties. Some of the tombs could become a resting place for hundreds of bodies.

    It is the first time that Syrian archaeologists have discovered a tomb with so many mummies, which date back to over 2,000 years ago.

    Expedition leader Halil al-Hariri said a thorough examination of the discovered mummies would clear up the social and economic standards of the ancient population of Palmyra and the diseases they had suffered from. "It is a rare discovery for Palmyra and shows that the ancient civilization that developed here was similar to the Egyptian civilization and made good progress in the craft of embalming," the scientist said.

    Syrian archaeologists said that the Palmyra excavations would bring many interesting discoveries.

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