Thursday was a monumental day for archaeologists in Egypt who announced the discovery of a 4,300-year-old mummy, which is thought to be from the fifth and sixth dynasties of ancient Egypt. Labeled as the "oldest" and "most complete" mummy found thus far, it was found among an array of artifacts deep within an ancient tomb near Cairo. The remains are believed to be that of a man named Hekashepes, and according to Zahi Hawass, Egypt's former minister of antiquities, it will serve as a reminder that many more secrets still remain buried in the country's historic sites.
"I put my head inside to see what was inside the sarcophagus: A beautiful mummy of a man completely covered in layers of gold," Hawass recalled to various news outlets while at the excavation site. The incredible discovery was made in Saqqara - a "great masterpiece of architectural design" that is located in Ancient Egypt's capital of Memphis. A 15-meter shaft located near the Step Pyramid at the Necropolis of Saqqara, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, harbored the centuries-old mummy. This remarkable finding furthers our understanding of Egyptian life from centuries ago and highlights why the preservation of archaeological sites like Saqqara is so important.
Many other "important archaeological discoveries" were uncovered as part of this Egyptian excavation, providing valuable insight into its ancient history. Zahi Hawass has announced that his team found tombs belonging to Meri, a "keeper of the secrets" at the royal palace, and Khnum-Djed-of, a priest of Unas' pyramid complex. Along with these impressive findings were extensive counts of statues belonging to deities, amulets for protection and rituals, tools used for everyday life, and remarkable stone vessels from their era. These archeological discoveries let us explore and learn more about Egyptian's interesting past as well as gain a better understanding of their culture and successes. "This discovery is so important as it connects the kings with the people living around them," archeologist Ali Abu Deshish told BBC News.
This week has truly been an incredible one for archaeologists and researchers alike in Egypt, with a series of groundbreaking discoveries being made. Just one day before Hawass' team announced their findings, another team of archeologists discovered ruins of a previously unknown ancient city called Luxor south of Cairo. A third group of experts was also able to conduct CT scans on a 2,300-year-old mummy nicknamed the "golden boy". These scans revealed several new details about how embalmers used amulets for religious and funeral protection during the period. This flurry of new information affirms the recent push from authorities to promote Egypt's tourism industry, which has taken a hit from years of political unrest and COVID-19 travel restrictions. Undoubtedly, these major archaeological findings provide valuable insight into ancient civilization while bolstering the country's preservation efforts.