Spectacular discovery in Egypt: four new pharaonic tombs and a mummy have been unveiled
Steph Deschamps / January 28, 2023
Egypt unveiled on Thursday four tombs of pharaonic dignitaries and a mummy over 4,000 years old at Saqqara near Cairo, the latest of the discoveries announced with great fanfare by a country anxious to bring back tourists.
It is in the necropolis of Saqqara, known for the famous step pyramid of the pharaoh Djeser, that the archaeologists brought to light these tombs sealed under the 5th and 6th dynasties, between 2.500 and 2.100 years before Jesus-Christ.
These deep cavities decorated with colorful scenes of everyday life served as the final resting place of Khnumdjedef, the high priest of the pharaoh Uunas, whose decorated pyramid is located nearby, Meri, the keeper of the king's secrets, Messi, high priest of the pharaoh Pepi I and Fetek, scribe and judge, detailed in front of the press the very media Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass.
During the excavation, 15 meters underground, archaeologists found a limestone sarcophagus "in the exact state where the ancient Egyptians had left it 4,300 years ago," said Hawass.
When they opened it, they discovered a mummy covered in gold, "one of the oldest and best preserved mummies in Egypt apart from the royal mummies," said the man, his head covered as usual by his famous Indiana Jones hat.
The necropolis of Saqqara, a little more than 15 kilometers south of the famous pyramids of the Giza plateau, is classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site because the pyramid of Djoser, built around 2,700 B.C. by the architect Imhotep, is considered one of the oldest monuments on the surface of the globe.
Egypt revealed these last months several major discoveries, mainly in Saqqara but also in Luxor.
Tuesday, Cairo announced the discovery in this southern city, the Thebes of the pharaohs, of the remains of "an entire Roman city" dating from the first centuries after Jesus Christ.
For some experts, these announcements are more political and economic than scientific.
For the country of 104 million inhabitants, which is in serious economic crisis, is counting on tourism to improve its finances: its government is aiming for 30 million tourists per year by 2028, compared with 13 million before Covid-19.