A group of archaeologists have discovered what would be the oldest mummy found in Egypt (4,300 years). According to the researchers, it would be a rich man of great importance called Djed Sepsh, given that his tomb was covered with gold. The mummified man was found 20 meters underground in the enclosure of Gisr el-Mudir, in the shadow of the ancient Step Pyramid of Djoser, in the town of Saqqara. As mentioned to CNN, Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former Minister of Antiquities and senior researcher, it was in a 25-ton stone coffin and its lid alone weighed five tons.
“It is the oldest and most beautiful mummy covered in layers of gold, with a headband and a bracelet on the chest, indicating that this was a wealthy man,” Hawass said. Another stone coffin similar to the one containing the mummified rich man was also unearthed.
This mummy may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date.Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former Minister of Antiquities
Among the many other artifacts from Egypt’s Ancient Empire were two tombs, and one of them apparently corresponds to the reign of Unas during the Fifth Dynasty, between 2,494 and 2,487 B.C. Three statues depicting a person in a well and nine others were also found behind a false door. According to Hawass, “the statues allow us to know for the first time the art of the Old Kingdom”.
The Step Pyramid was the first to be built by the Egyptians, between 2,667 and 2,648 B.C. during the early Third Dynasty, and is the oldest known stone structure in ancient Egypt, according to the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Saqqara, a vast necropolis located some 32 kilometers south of Cairo, has been the site of numerous discoveries such as the funerary temple of Queen Nearit, wife of King Teti, first of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, found in 2021.
That same year, archaeologists found the tomb of the chief treasurer of King Ramses II, who ruled Egypt between 1279 and 1213 BC. In late May of 2022, Egyptian archaeologists unearthed a set of priceless artifacts that included 250 painted sarcophagi, sealed, with the mummies well preserved inside, and 150 bronze statues depicting ancient Egyptian deities, among which Anubis, Osiris, Nefertem, Isis and Hathor.
A headless bronze statue of Imhotep, the chief architect of Pharaoh Djoser who ruled ancient Egypt between 2630 and 2611 BC, was also revealed. All of the artifacts are over 2,500 years old, dating back to the Late Period, about 500 BC.
Inside the sarcophagus guarded by Isis and Neftis, the archaeologists discovered a papyrus roll which they approximate to be 10m long and seems to contain chapters of Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian funerary text consisting of a number of magic spells intended to assist a dead person’s journey through the Duat (the realm of the dead in ancient Egyptian mythology, the underworld) and into the afterlife. It was immediately sent to the lab of the Egyptian Museum for further examination.
All the findings come from the “Cemetery of Sacred Animals”, which used to be called “Bubasteion”, an homage to the ancient Egyptian goddess of protection, pleasure and the bringer of good health Bastet, who is depicted having the head of a cat, because most of the statues that were initially found at the site were in the shape of cats.
The site is about 400m long, but since work started in 2018 excavations have been only carried out in about 100m. In this time, over 450 decorated and sealed sarcophagi, all containing well preserved mummies, have been unearthed. Dr. Al Saidi told CBS News that “the site likely still has a lot more treasures to reveal”.