Egyptian archaeologists have made a remarkable discovery, unearthing a Pharaonic tomb near the capital city of Cairo containing a gold leaf-covered mummy that had remained hidden for over 4,300 years. This discovery is believed to be one of the oldest and most complete mummies ever found in Egypt. The remains were found at the bottom of a 15-meter shaft in a recently uncovered group of tombs at the Saqqara necropolis, located south of Cairo.
The mummy, which belonged to a man named Hakashepes, was covered in layers of gold and concealed within a large limestone sarcophagus. It had been sealed in mortar for over four millennia and was discovered “just as the ancient Egyptians left it.” According to Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former antiquities minister, the mummy “may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date.”
Along with the mummy, three other tombs were also discovered at the vast Saqqara burial site. The largest is said to belong to a priest, inspector, and supervisor of nobles named Khnumdjedef. Another tomb belonged to a senior palace official called Meri, who was given the title “secret keeper” and was allowed to carry out special religious rituals. These findings, including statues, amulets, and a well-preserved sarcophagus, date back to the fifth and sixth dynasties, corresponding to the 25th to 22nd centuries BC.
Saqqara, which is situated on the banks of the Nile, was an active burial ground for more than 3,000 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to more than a dozen pyramids, including the Step Pyramid where the mummy was found. This discovery is part of a flurry of new findings announced by Egyptian authorities in the past week, including dozens of burial sites from the New Kingdom era found near the southern city of Luxor and the ruins of an ancient Roman city.
In a separate announcement, a group of scientists from Cairo University revealed previously unknown details about a mummified teenage boy dating back to 300 BC using CT scans. The scans shed new light on the boy’s high social status and revealed intricate details of the amulets inserted within his mummified body and the type of burial he received. The discovery of the gold-covered mummy and the other findings at Saqqara continue to shed light on the rich cultural heritage of Egypt and its important role in ancient history.