After a huge and mysterious black granite sarcophagus was discovered five meters below the surface on a construction site in the city of Alexandria in Egypt, many believed it contained the remains of Alexander the Great of Greece or an Egyptian king. Rumours started doing the rounds that opening the sarcophagus would lead to a deadly curse.

Three weeks later the sarcophagus has finally been opened and found to contain no royalty, and better yet, it doesn’t appear to have triggered a dreaded and deadly curse. It did, however, unleash an unholy stench of sewage water.

Archaeologists open the mysterious sarcophagus

Three weeks after the discovery was made on the construction site, archaeologists appointed by the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt have opened the massive granite sarcophagus, which is thought to have lain there for 2,000 years. As reported by The Guardian, they also discovered a weathered alabaster head, which they believed to be related to the occupant of the tomb.

While rumours were that such a magnificent black granite tomb must contain someone highly important, the truth is that the remains of three pretty ordinary Egyptians lay inside.

Archaeologists met with toxic fumes

There was also an almost unbearable stench as they opened the sarcophagus, due to sewage water inside the sarcophagus. They believe the toxic water had entered the sarcophagus through a crack in one of its sides.

The BBC quotes the Egyptian newspaper El-Watan as saying the archaeologists initially raised the 15-tonne lid by just two inches (5 cm) before the unbearable smell drove them away from the site.

Later on, after it had aired a bit, they enlisted the help of Egyptian military engineers to prise the lid open completely.

The Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, Mostafa Waziri, said they had found the remains of three people and that this looked like a family burial site.

He said regrettably the mummies were not in a good condition and only the bones of the three people remained. This could reportedly be due to the sewage water that had leaked into the tomb.

The world didn't fall into darkness

Speaking of the curse rumours, Waziri said they had opened the sarcophagus and “thank God” the world had not fallen into darkness. He added that he was the first to put his head inside the tomb and that there he was, standing before them, absolutely fine.

However, the Egypt state-owned news outlet, Al-Ahram, reported that the site was cleared of people after fears were that more lethal toxic fumes could emanate from the sarcophagus.

The Guardian uploaded a video showing the work on the sarcophagus.