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Egyptian
Sarcophagus of Psamtik-Seneb

ca. 664-525 B.C.
Schist
71.2254

Carved of stone, alabaster, or another highly durable material, the Egyptian sarcophagus served as the protective outer receptacle for the mummy, with the wooden coffin (or several layers of coffins) nested inside it.  Such elaborate and costly burial boxes were typically reserved for the elite.

The hieroglyphs on the sarcophagus identify the deceased as Psamtik-Seneb, "the scorpion charmer."  In ancient Egypt, scorpion charmers were healers who treated scorpion stings and snakes bites, a crucial job in a land where venomous insects and animals constantly threatened men and cattle