Egypt unveils 4,300-year-old mummy and graves – DW – 01/26/2023

Egypt on Thursday announced a series of new archaeological discoveries found in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, including a mummy believed to be 4,300 years old.

«This mummy is perhaps the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date,» Zahi Hawass, former minister of antiquities, said in a statement.

It is believed that the mummy belonged to a man named Hekashepes. Hawass said it was «covered in layers of gold» and concealed in a large limestone sarcophagus sealed for 4,300 years, «just as the ancient Egyptians left it».

A general view inside a tomb following news of the discovery of 4,300 year old sealed tombs in the Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara, Giza, Egypt
The millennial tombs were discovered in the Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara, south of CairoImage: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/REUTERS

What else have archaeologists found?

Archaeologists also said they discovered four tombs at the sprawling burial site.

Hawass said the finds date to the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, which correspond to the 25th and 22nd centuries BC.

The largest tomb discovered by scientists is believed to have belonged to an inspecting priest and overseer of nobles named Khnumdjedef, Hawass added.

Found in the pyramid complex of Unas, the last king of the Fifth Dynasty, the tomb is «decorated with scenes of everyday life», he said.

Another tomb discovered belonged to a man identified as the pharaoh’s «secret keeper». This refers to a priestly title held by senior palace officials.

The third grave belonged to a priest, while the fourth was that of a judge and writer named Fetek, Hawass said.

What do these findings mean?

In recent years, Egypt has heralded a series of ancient-era finds in a bid to breathe life into its vital tourism sector.

Tourism is a main source of income in the country which could pump up much-needed hard currency in times of economic turbulence.

But the sector has deteriorated sharply in recent years, with the COVID-19 pandemic and then Russia’s war on Ukraine negatively impacting the number of tourists traveling to Egypt.

rmt/nm (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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