A 4,300-year-old mummy was found covered in layers of gold near the Step Pyramid at Saqqara.
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a pharaonic tomb near the capital Cairo that contains the oldest and “most complete” mummy yet discovered in the country.
The 4,300-year-old mummy was found at the base of a 15-meter (49-foot) shaft in a recently discovered group of tombs from the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties of the Old Kingdom near the Step Pyramid at Jahi, Saqqara. Hawass, the team’s director, told reporters on Thursday.
The mummy of the man Hegasheps was contained in a limestone sarcophagus, which had a “gold-leaf cover” and was sealed with mortar.
“I put my head inside to see what was inside the sarcophagus: a beautiful mummy of a man completely covered in layers of gold,” Havas said. “This mummy may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date.”
Other tombs discovered belong to Kunumtjedeb, inspector of officials, overseer of nobles, and priest during the reign of Unas, the last pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty. It was decorated with scenes of everyday life.
Another tomb belongs to Mary – “keeper of secrets and assistant to the great chief of the palace”.
The priestly title of “Secret Guard” conferred authority and power on a senior official of the palace to perform special religious rites.
The third tomb belonged to a priest in the pyramid complex of Pharaoh Pepi I, and the fourth belonged to a judge and scribe named Fedek, Hawass added.
Mostafa Waziri, head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said Fedek’s tomb contained “the largest collection of statues” ever found in the area.
Numerous figurines were found among the tombs, including one representing a man and his wife and several servants.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the sprawling burial ground in the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis includes a dozen pyramids, animal tombs and old Coptic Christian monasteries.
In a separate announcement earlier in the week, a team of scientists from Cairo University revealed previously unknown details about a mummified teenage boy dating back to 300 BC.
Using CT scans, the team of scientists 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.