Egyptian archaeologists and researchers have recently unveiled a trove of artifacts, including what may be the oldest and most complete mummy ever found.
On Thursday, a team of Egyptologists announced the discovery of several ancient tombs in a pharaonic necropolis outside the capital Cairo. Among the finds, excavation leader Zahi Hawass said in an Instagram post: A mummy belonging to a man called Heka-shepes, about 4,300 years ago, sealed in a large rectangular limestone sarcophagus .
The mummy “was found covered in gold leaf … probably the oldest and most complete mummy ever found in Egypt,” he said.
The discovery, which dates back to 2500 BC to 2100 BC, during the fifth and sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom, was part of a year-long excavation near the pyramids of Saqqara.
The new discoveries were made beneath an ancient stone enclosure called Gisr el-Mudir. “I poked my head in to see what was inside the sarcophagus: a beautiful mummy covered in layers of gold,” Hawass told the Associated Press.
Also found: One grave belonged to Khnumdjedef, a Fifth Dynasty priest, while another belonged to a court official named Meli, who bears the title “Keeper of Secrets,” the team said.
Other key finds from the excavation include statues, amulets and a well-preserved sarcophagus.
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Archaeologists have also revealed several new discoveries about 400 miles to the south — including a family burial site dating back about 4,000 years.
The discovery of the necropolis (or necropolis) of Dra Abu el-Naga on the west bank of the Nile in the city of Luxor is the first to be found in ancient Egypt during the Thirteenth Dynasty and dates from after 1780 BC, according to Egyptologist and Egyptologist Presentation by Mostafa Waziry, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
“This discovery is the first of its kind,” Waziry posted on Instagram.
Findings at the site include a pink granite sarcophagus weighing about 11 tons that bears the name of a minister named Ankho, who lived during the 13th dynasty of Sobekhotep II, said Fathy Yaseen, director of the General Directorate of Antiquities in Upper Egypt CBS News on the site during the reign of the king.
“We’ve found more than a thousand cemeteries in Luxor before, but this is the first time we’ve found one from the 13th Dynasty,” Yassin said.
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Also found nearby: “the most important and oldest residential city” dating back to Roman times, Waziry said in an Instagram post. He also posted a video of these discoveries on Facebook, Twitter.
The city, which is considered part of the ancient city of Thebes, is located along the Nile and within the borders of Luxor, “and it’s important because it shows us a lot more about the lives of ordinary Egyptians at the time,” Yassin told CBS News .
Researchers ‘digitally unravel’ an ancient Egyptian mummy
On Tuesday, researchers at Cairo University announced another archaeological advance. In the journal Frontiers in Medicine, they describe how they used computed tomography to “digitally unravel” the mummy of a teenage boy from 300 BC.
A team of scientists has been able to shed new light on the boy’s high social status by identifying intricate details of the amulets inserted into his mummified body and the burial he received.
Archaeological finds may help revive Egypt tourism
Discoveries in Ancient Egypt are often used to boost the country’s tourism industry, which is an important source of income for the North African nation. Tourism has suffered a downturn following the political turmoil and violence that followed the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions.
The tourism industry, which accounts for about 12 percent of the country’s economy, has also been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, Egypt’s Independent reported in February 2021. The outlet reported last year that tourism was also hampered by the war in Ukraine.
Contribution: Associated Press
Digging Deeper: Mummies, Other Ancient and Archaeological Finds
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.
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