A virtual restoration of a painted leopard’s head from a sarcophagus found at the Aswan necropolis.

Archaeologists with the Egyptian-Italian Mission at West Aswan have digitally restored fragments of a very fragile painted leopard’s head from a 2nd century BC sarcophagus, discovered at the Egyptian necropolis last year. The leopard is a common symbol of power and protection in ancient Egypt, but it is unusual to see it painted on a sarcophagus, according to Patrizia Piacentini of the University of Milan, who co-directs the dig.

Next to the room with the leopard sarcophagus, the excavation of the tomb unearthed another rarity: a bowl of pine nuts dating from the 1st century AD. Pine nuts are not native to Egypt, but were sometimes imported in antiquity.

Image: courtesy of the Egyptian-Italian Mission at West Aswan