Recently, a team of archaeologists led by Egypt’s former Antiquities Minister, Zahi Hawass, made a remarkable discovery in the village of Saqqara, near the ancient Step Pyramid of Djoser. After 20 meters underground in the Gisr el-Mudir enclosure, they uncovered a 4,300-year-old mummy, believed to be one of the oldest ever found in Egypt. The mummy, named Djed Sepsh, was a wealthy and important 35-year-old man at the time of his death.
What makes this discovery so remarkable is not just its age, but also its state of preservation. The mummy was found completely covered in gold, making it one of the most well-preserved mummies in Egyptian history. According to Hawass, this discovery is “the most amazing” he has ever made. He explains that this is not just the oldest mummy found in Egypt, but also the oldest mummy that is complete and covered in gold.
Significance of this Discovery
The discovery of this mummy sheds new light on ancient Egyptian society and religious beliefs, as well as providing valuable information on mummification techniques used by the ancient Egyptians. This discovery is not just important to Egyptologists and archaeologists, but also to historians and those interested in ancient cultures.
The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated, as it provides new information on the lives of the wealthy and powerful in ancient Egyptian society. It also reveals new details about the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Egyptians, who believed that mummification was necessary for the deceased to reach the afterlife. The discovery of the mummy of Djed Sepsh is a valuable addition to our understanding of ancient Egyptian society and culture, and serves as a testament to the incredible achievements of the ancient Egyptians.
Opening the tombs
The mummy of Djed Sepsh was found inside a massive 25-tonne stone coffin, with the lid weighing a staggering 5 tonnes. When the team led by Zahi Hawass opened the lid, they were met with a sight that left them in awe. The mummy was covered in layers of gold, with a band on the head and a bracelet on the chest, indicating that this was a wealthy individual in ancient Egyptian society. Hawass described the mummy as the “oldest and most beautiful” he has ever seen, with the level of preservation being truly remarkable.
In addition to the mummy of Djed Sepsh, the team led by Zahi Hawass discovered two other Old Kingdom tombs, one of which dates back to the reign of King Unas during the Fifth Dynasty, which lasted from 2494 to 2487 BC. The team also found three statues representing one person in a shaft, as well as nine other statues found behind a false door.
According to Hawass, the statues are of great significance as they provide new information about art in the Old Kingdom for the first time. The collection of statues includes double statues, single statues, servant statues, and various other types, offering a comprehensive understanding of the art and sculpture from this era.
Another coffin is to be opened next week
A second stone coffin similar to the one that housed the mummy of the wealthy man, Djed Sepsh, has been uncovered and is set to be opened next week. This discovery, according to Zahi Hawass, confirms that the cemetery was reserved for people of high importance, second only to the king.
The Step Pyramid, located in the village of Saqqara, is a historic site in Egypt, known for being the first pyramid built by the ancient Egyptians, and the oldest known stone structure of its kind. Saqqara, a vast necropolis about 20 miles south of Cairo, has been the site of several other remarkable discoveries, including the funeral temple of Queen Nearit, wife of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, which was discovered in 2021. The same year, the tomb of the chief treasurer to King Ramses II was also uncovered at the site. Furthermore, in May 2022, a large collection of ancient bronze statues and sarcophagi was uncovered at Saqqara.
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