More Old Kingdom tombs uncovered at Saqqara
Excavations at Saqqara south of Cairo continue to reveal incredible finds, including what may be the oldest mummified person ever found in Egypt. According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, archaeologists uncovered the mummified remains of a man named Hekashepes, whose burial dates to the 23rd century BCE. The team also uncovered the tombs of several other royal and religious officials.
As described in a press conference held by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Hekashepes’s tomb was discovered at the bottom of a 50-foot shaft. Within the tomb, the team uncovered the man’s 4,300-year-old remains covered with gold leaf inside a sealed limestone sarcophagus. As stated by Zahi Hawass, director of the team and former Minister of Antiquities, “This mummy may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date.”
Hekashepes’s tomb was one of several discovered within a complex dating to the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties of Egypt’s Old Kingdom (c. 2663–2181 BCE). Included among them was the tomb of an important Egyptian official named Khnumdjedef, who served as the inspector of officials and priest of the pyramid complex of Pharaoh Unas, the last pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty (mid-24th century BCE).
Another tomb was for Meri, “keeper of the secrets and assistant to the great leader of the palace.” A second shaft tomb included the sarcophagus and mummified remains of a man identified by an inscription as Fetek. Other tombs revealed collections of statues, including those of a husband and wife with several servants.
These tombs are just a few of the many uncovered at Saqqara, which was the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. Since their discovery in 2018, the Saqqara tombs have provided incredible finds from across the span of ancient Egyptian history. Among the finds have been hundreds of sarcophagi, human and animal mummies, grave goods, and statues.
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