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Egypt unveils new incredible discoveries including two tombs and gold-covered sarcophagus

Egypt discovers tombs and sarcophagus in new dig
Egypt discovers tombs and sarcophagus in new dig Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Theo FarrantAP
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Egypt unveils new discoveries including two tombs and gold-covered sarcophagus

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Egypt has unveiled a series of new archaeological discoveries from a year-long excavation at Saqqara Necropolis, just outside the capital, Cairo. 

The finds discovered, including two ancient tombs, date back to the fifth and sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom, around 2500-2100 B.C.

One of the tombs belonged to a priest named Khnumdjedef from the fifth dynasty, while the other larger tomb belonged to a palace official named Meri, who held the title of "the keeper of the secrets". 

The excavation team also uncovered dozens of other valuable artefacts including statues, amulets, and a well-preserved sarcophagus. 

AP Photo
Egyptian antiquities guarders stand behind recently discovered artifacts at the site of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in SaqqaraAP Photo
Amr Nabil/AP
A recently discovered artifact is displayed at the site of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in SaqqaraAmr Nabil/AP
Amr Nabil/AP Photo
A recently discovered artifact is displayed at the site of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in SaqqaraAmr Nabil/AP Photo
AP Photo
An Egyptian archeologist speaks at a recently discovered tomb dated to the Old Kingdom, 2700–2200 BCAP Photo

All the items unearthed during the excavation lay beneath an ancient stone enclosure within Saqarra Necropolis and date back to the fifth and sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom, a member of the excavation team said.

The renowned Egyptian archaeologist and director of the excavation, Zahi Hawass, personally unveiled the new discoveries at the stone enclosure known as Gisr el-Mudir. 

"I put my head inside to see what could be inside the sarcophagus, a beautiful mummy of a man completely covered with layers of gold," Hawass said.

Other recent discoveries

AP Photo
Layers of an Egyptian mummy dating to 330 BC are pictured using CT (computed tomography), released by Cairo UniversityAP Photo

Saqqara Necropolis is part of the sprawling Memphis necropolis, which includes the famous Giza Pyramids, as well as smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur, and Abu Ruwaysh. The ruins of Memphis were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in the 1970s.

The unveiling of the new discoveries at Saqqara comes amid a series of recent discoveries announced by Egyptian authorities. Two weeks ago, dozens of burial sites from the New Kingdom era, dating back to 1800-1600 B.C., were found near the southern city of Luxor, along with the ruins of an ancient Roman city.

In a separate announcement on Tuesday 24 January, a team of scientists from Cairo University revealed new details about a mummified teenage boy discovered in 1916, using advanced CT scans.

The scans revealed that the boy was likely from a rich and high social status family, as his body is adorned with 49 amulets made from gold and precious stone. The team also managed to identify that the boy was uncircumcised, which is rare for mummies and suggests the teenager may not have been Egyptian. This adds to evidence that mummification was not limited to Egyptians.

Video editor • Theo Farrant

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