Archaeologists found the 4,300-year-old mummy, believed to be the remains of a man named Hekashepe, in an ancient tomb near Cairo. It comes from the country’s fifth and sixth dynasties, which lasted from 2500 BC to 2100 BC, said Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former antiquities minister.
“I looked to see what was inside the sarcophagus: a beautiful male mummy completely covered in layers of gold,” Hawass said at the dig site.
The centuries-old mummy was found at the bottom of a 15-meter-deep shaft near the Pyramid of Djoser in the Saqqara Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sakara, an outstanding masterpiece of architectural design, is located in Memphis, the first capital of Ancient Egypt.
Several other important archaeological discoveries were made, including tombs belonging to Meri, the “keeper of secrets” of the royal palace, and Khnum-djed-ef, the priest of the Unas pyramid complex.
A large number of statues of deities, amulets, everyday objects and stone vessels were discovered.
“This discovery is so important because it links the kings to the people living around them,” said archaeologist Ali Abu Deshish.
The discovery comes just a day after a different team of archaeologists discovered the ruins of another ancient city, called Luxor, south of Cairo.
Earlier that week, scientists “digitally unwrapped” the 2,300-year-old “golden boy” mummy using a CT scanner. The scan revealed new insights into how ancient embalmers used precious amulets to protect the dead.
In recent years, Egypt has seen a series of important archaeological discoveries highlighted as part of its support for the country’s tourism industry.
The industry has suffered from growing political unrest in the country since 2011, as well as from the travel restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.