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‘Oldest and most complete’ mummy found in Egypt | News

A 4,300-year-old mummy was found covered in layers of gold near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara.

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed a pharaonic tomb near the capital, Cairo, which contains perhaps the oldest and “most complete” mummy yet to be discovered in the country.

A 4,300-year-old mummy was found at the bottom of a 15m shaft in a recently discovered group of tombs dating from the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties of the Old Kingdom, near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Zahi. This was announced to journalists on Thursday by the director of the Hawass team.

The mummy of a man named Gekashepes had a “plating of gold leaf” and was in a limestone sarcophagus sealed in lime mortar.

“I looked inside to see what was inside the sarcophagus: a beautiful human mummy, completely covered in layers of gold,” Hawass said. “This mummy may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date.”

Among other tombs found was one belonging to Khnumdjedef, inspector of officials, overseer of the nobility and priest during the reign of Unas, the last pharaoh of the fifth dynasty. It was decorated with scenes from everyday life.

An Egyptian archaeologist talks to a recently discovered tomb from the Old Kingdom.
The expedition discovered a group of tombs belonging to the fifth and sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom. [Amr Nabil/AP Photo]

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

The priestly title of “secret keeper” was worn by high-ranking palace officials, who gave power and authority to perform special religious rituals.

The third tomb belonged to a priest in the pyramid complex of Pharaoh Pepi I, while the fourth belonged to a judge and writer named Fetek, Hawass added.

Fetek’s tomb included a collection of “the largest statues” ever found in the area, said Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt’s High Council of Antiquities.

Numerous statues have been found among the tombs, including one depicting a man, his wife, and several servants.

The sprawling burial site in Egypt’s ancient UNESCO-listed capital Memphis is home to more than a dozen pyramids, animal graves and old Coptic Christian monasteries.

In a separate announcement earlier this week, a team of Cairo University scientists revealed previously unknown details about a mummified teenage boy dating back to around 300 BC.

Using CT scans, a team of scientists has shed new light on the boy’s high social status, confirming the intricate details of the amulets inserted into his mummified body and the type of burial he received.

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