In a monumental discovery for Egypt’s tourism industry, archaeologists have uncovered a 4,300-year-old mummy covered in gold leaf. The mummy was found sealed within a sarcophagus in a chamber that had been undisturbed for thousands of years. The remains are believed to be those of a man named Hekashepes and are thought to be one of the oldest and most complete non-royal corpses ever found in Egypt.
The discovery was made at the Saqqara necropolis, an active burial ground for over 3,000 years and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is located south of Cairo, at the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis and contains over a dozen pyramids, including the Step Pyramid.
In addition to the mummy of Hekashepes, three other tombs were also found at the burial site. These tombs contained various statues and items of pottery, including a mummy believed to be of a man called Khnumdjedef, a priest, inspector and supervisor of nobles. Another mummy belonged to a man called Meri, a senior palace official who was given the title of “secret keeper” and was able to perform special religious rituals. A third tomb contained the remains of a judge and writer named Fetek.
According to archaeologist Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former antiquities minister, all of these discoveries date back to the 25th to 22nd centuries BC. Ali Abu Deshish, one of the archaeologists involved in the excavation of the tombs, stated that “this discovery is so important as it connects the kings with the people living around them.”
This discovery comes on the heels of another major archaeological find in Egypt, as on Wednesday experts announced the discovery of a complete residential city from the Roman era, dating back to the second and third centuries AD. The city includes residential buildings, towers and what have been called “metal workshops” and contains Roman coins, pots and other tools.
This recent string of discoveries is not only providing valuable insight into the ancient civilization of Egypt but also boosting the country’s tourism industry as more and more people are drawn to see these historical treasures for themselves.