Archaeologists in Egypt discovered a 4,300-year-old mummy — the oldest ever found in the country — during an unusual dig near Cairo, officials announced Thursday.
The mummy, known as “Hekasheps,” was located at the base of a 49-foot shaft near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, where the team was working to uncover tombs of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, dating to the 25th century BC. Team director Zahi Hawass said in a statement.
Hekasheps’ large rectangular limestone sarcophagus is still sealed with the mortar that the ancient Egyptians used to cover the tomb 40 centuries ago.
“I put my head inside to see what was inside the sarcophagus: a beautiful mummy of a man completely covered in layers of gold,” said Hawass, a former minister of antiquities for Egypt, adding that the mummy was “the oldest” and “the most complete in Egypt to date.
The discovery of Hekashebs was not the most spectacular discovery during the year-long excavations at Khizr al-Mudir, one of the oldest known stone structures in Egypt.
The “most important” tomb archaeologists discovered belonged to Khnum-djed-ef, a priest, inspector of officials and overseer of nobles at the pyramid complex of Unas, a pharaoh who ruled in the mid-24th century BC.
There, scientists also discovered the tomb of a royal palace official named Meri, “keeper of secrets and assistant to the great chief of the palace,” who had the second largest tomb in the cemetery.
In the pyramid complex of King Pepy I, a pharaoh who ruled between the 24th and early 23rd centuries BC, archaeologists discovered the tomb of a priest named Messi, on the basis of which nine statues were neatly arranged. Ancient Egyptian people.
A final mummy was found inside a stone sarcophagus near an offering table and a group of stone statues representing a man named Fedek, Hawass said.
“In addition, the expedition yielded many amulets, stone vessels, tools for daily life and statues of deities along with pottery,” Hawass said.
The monumental discovery comes days after authorities said they discovered the ruins of an ancient Roman city near the southern city of Luxor, where they found dozens of burials from the New Kingdom era, which dates from 1800 BC to 1600 BC.
With post wires
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