In a surprising turn of events, archaeologists have discovered a gold leaf-covered ancient mummy inside a sarcophagus that had been unopened for 4,300 years.
Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s most renowned archaeologist and director of the excavation, unveiled these latest discoveries from Gisr al-Mudir. The astonishing discovery was part of new archaeological finds including two ancient tombs at a Pharaonic necropolis near Cairo. The excavation helped archaeologists find statues, amulets, and a well-preserved sarcophagus.
According to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, ”the artefacts, unearthed during a year-long excavation, were found under an ancient stone enclosure near the Saqqara pyramids and date back to the fifth and sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom, spanning from roughly 2500BC to 2100BC.”
The authorities further added, “One of the uncovered tombs belonged to a fifth dynasty priest known as Khnumdjedef, while the other larger tomb belonged to Meri, a palace official who held the title of ‘the keeper of the secrets.”
The discoveries made in the Pharaonic necropolis, near Cairo, are a part of the Saqqara site that sprawls at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis, where the world-famous Giza Pyramids as well as smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur, and Abu Ruwaysh exist. The ruins of Memphis were designated a Unesco World Heritage site in the 1970s.
Other notable findings by the archaeologists near the southern city of Luxorare were dozens of burial sites from the New Kingdom era, dating from 1800BC to 1600BC.
For this North African country, tourism is a huge deal. Oftentimes, Egyptian locals tout ancient discoveries to attract more tourists, a significant source of revenue for the cash-strapped country.