sarcophagusThe word sarcophagus derives from the Greek and means 'flesh-eater'. In most Egyptological publications the term is merely used to designate a stone container for the mummy. A sarcophagus is either rectangular (with or without a rounded head-end), oval, cartouche-shaped, or in the shape of the human body. Sarcophagi made their appearance in the Third Dynasty. They remained in use as late as the Roman Period. The decoration of most sarcophagi consists of texts and representations. The function of the sarcophagus was largely analogous to that of the coffin. Usually, the sarcophagus is the outermost case of one or more nesting coffins.