Lighting Up Saqqara:

Lighting Up Saqqara: An Electrifying Theory for the Serapeum Sarcophagi

The Serapeum of Saqqara has been a continuous source of speculation and mystery since its re-discovery in 1850. Even now, no theory has been able to explain exactly how or why the 24 giant sarcophagi were moved to the site and precisely installed in their notches. The mainstream theory suggests the site was used for the burial of Apis bulls, though many elements do not add up with this belief.

For example, the size of the boxes exceeds the size of the bulls; was it done to provide extra comfort for them? Why not do the same for the pharaohs, who were buried in tiny coffins barely fitting their bodies? Why did they make the Serapeum sarcophagi out of granite and not with limestone, a material much easier to work with? And if Serapeum was the burial site for the Apis bulls, where are the bull mummies?

A little Photoshop to compare the size of a bull (which is about 2.3 meters long) and a Serapeum sarcophagus based on measurement by Linant-Bey. This is a typical bull mummy from Dynastic times.

Several people reject the theory of the Serapeum having been used for ceremonial burials (at least not in the grand gallery of the site where the large coffins are located), but if not that, then what was it used for?  The hall that runs between the sarcophagi is more than the length of 2 ½ football fields! That is the question posed by some Egyptologists…and it is little wonder that they hear a “sound of crickets chirping” in return – in other words, they’ve found no other plausible alternative theory. By default, we fall back to the Apis theory with all its flaws.

What is unexplained to me regardless of the purpose is how they were transported underground down a narrow hall and put in place. Linant de Bellefonds calculated one of the large sarcophagi of the Greater Vaults to have a total mass of 62 tons (124,000 lbs) at most: 37.6 tons (75,000 lbs) for the body and 24.4 tons (49,000 lbs) for the lid. To get a good idea of how amazing these sarcophagi are check out the segments in season 13 episode 7 of Ancient Aliens.