Egypt on Thursday unveiled dozens of new archaeological discoveries, including two ancient tombs, in a pharaonic necropolis just outside the capital Cairo.
The artifacts, unearthed during a year-long excavation, were found under an ancient stone enclosure near the Saqqara pyramids and date to the fifth and sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom, ranging from around 2500 BC to 2100 BC. the excavation team said.
One of the tombs discovered belonged to a Fifth Dynasty priest known as Khnumdjedef, while the other tomb belonged to an official named Meri, a palace official who held the title of “keeper of secrets,” the team said. Other important finds from the excavation include statues, amulets and a well-preserved sarcophagus.
Egypt’s most famous archaeologist and excavation director, Zahi Hawass, personally unveiled the new findings from the stone enclosure, known as Gisr al-Mudir.
“I poked my head inside to see what was inside the sarcophagus: a beautiful mummy of a man completely covered in layers of gold,” Hawass said.
The Saqqara site is part of a vast necropolis in the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis which includes the famous pyramids of Giza and smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh. The Memphis Ruins were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1970s.
Thursday’s presentation comes amid a flurry of new findings announced by Egyptian authorities last week. Near the southern city of Luxor, authorities said they had found dozens of New Kingdom-era burial sites dating from between 1800 BC and 1600 BC. The ruins of an ancient city have been discovered nearby. Roman.
In a separate announcement on Tuesday, a group of scientists from Cairo University revealed previously unknown details about a mummified teenager dating back to 300 BC the intricate details of the amulets inserted into his mummified body and the type of burial he received.
Egypt often publicly promotes its ancient discoveries to attract more tourists, a significant source of foreign exchange for the cash-strapped North African country. The sector suffered a long recession after the political turmoil and violence following the 2011 uprising.
Egypt’s tourism industry has also been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and is currently suffering the consequences of the war in Ukraine. Both Russia and Ukraine were formerly a major source of tourists visiting Egypt.
Associated Press writer Jack B. Jeffery contributed to this report from Cairo.