On Thursday, Egypt announced a series of new archaeological discoveries found in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, including a mummy said to be 4,300 years old. Archaeologists found the gold-covered mummy inside a limestone sarcophagus that had remained shut for more than four millennia. The archaeological team believes the mummy belonged to a man by the name of Hekashepes.
Former antiquities minister, Zahi Hawass stated that “this mummy may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date.” Hawass also stated that the mummy was “wrapped in layers of gold” and was kept hidden within a sizable limestone coffin that had been sealed for 4,300 years, which is exactly as the ancient Egyptians had left it. Ali Abu Deshish, an archaeologist involved in the excavation, believes that this discovery is so important as it connects the kings with the people living around them.
Other mummies unearthed at the ancient necropolis are said to belong to Khnumdjedef (a priest, inspector, and supervisor of nobles), and Meri (a senior palace official given the title of “secret keeper”) which allowed him to perform special religious rituals. Moreover, there were other items, including pottery, that have also been found among the tombs.
Saqqara used to be an active burial ground for more than 3,000 years and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It sits at what was the ancient Egyptian capital Memphis and is home to more than a dozen pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, near where the mummy was found.