Archaeologist hails possibly ‘oldest’ mummy yet found in Egypt

January 27, 2023 - 10:50 AM
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Egyptian tomb
A general view inside a tomb after the announcement of the discovery of 4,300-year-old sealed tombs in Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, January 26, 2023. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

CAIRO — Egyptologists have uncovered a Pharaonic tomb near the capital Cairo containing what may be the oldest and “most complete” mummy yet to be discovered in the country, the excavation team leader said on Thursday.

The 4,300-year-old mummy was found at the bottom of a 15-meter shaft in a recently uncovered group of fifth and sixth dynasty tombs near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Zahi Hawass, director of the team, told reporters.

The mummy, of a man named Hekashepes, was in a limestone sarcophagus that had been sealed in mortar.

“This mummy may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date,” Hawass, one of Egypt’s former ministers of antiquities, said in a statement.

Among other tombs found was one belonging to Khnumdjedef, an inspector of officials, a supervisor of nobles and a priest during the reign of Unas, last pharaoh of the fifth dynasty. It was decorated with scenes of daily life.

Another tomb belonged to Meri, “keeper of the secrets and assistant to the great leader of the palace”.

Numerous statues were found among the tombs, including one representing a man and his wife and several servants, the statement said.

Reporting by Patrick Werr; Editing by Nick Macfie