London: Archaeologists claim to have discovered a mummy of a tiny, wide-eyed woman dressed in a tunic in a remote Egyptian oasis.
"It is a unique find. It's the first Roman-style mummy found in Bahariya Oasis, 186 miles southwest of Cairo," the 'Daily Mail' quoted Mahmoud Afifi, who led a team which found the mummy in an intricately carved plaster sarcophagus.
The find was part of a cemetery dating back to the Greco-Roman period containing 14 tombs.
The carved plaster sarcophagus is only 3 feet long and shows a woman wearing a long tunic, a headscarf, bracelet and shoes, as well as a beaded necklace, and the coloured stones in the sarcophagus' eyes gave the appearance she is awake, the archaeologists say.
Afifi said they had not dated the new find yet, but the burial style indicated she belonged to Egypt's long period of Roman rule lasting a few hundred years and starting 31BC.
He said his team first thought they had stumbled across a child's tomb because of its diminutive stature, but the decorations and features indicated it was a woman.
Afifi said it was still unclear who the woman was but said it was most likely she was a wealthy and influential member of her society, judging by the effort taken on the sarcophagus.
Mummies of people of diminutive stature have been unearthed in other parts of Egypt, where they appeared to have importance in local religions at the time, he added.
The archaeologists also found a gold relief showing the four sons of the Egyptian god Horus, other plaster masks of women's faces, several glass and clay utensils and some metal coins.
The metal coins are being checked to see whether they can date the era of the tomb more precisely.
Bahariya Oasis shot to fame a decade ago with the discovery of 'Valley of the Golden Mummies', a vast cemetery that has yielded up hundreds from Greco-Roman period.
First Published: Sunday, April 18, 2010, 09:24