Gold-covered mummy among the latest discoveries

One of four newly discovered tombs at the Saqqara archaeological site south of Cairo

Archaeologists say they have found a gold leaf covered mummy sealed in a sarcophagus that has been unopened for 4,300 years.

The mummy, the remains of a man named Hekashepes, is believed to be one of the oldest and most complete non-royal corpses ever found in Egypt.

It was discovered in a 15-meter shaft in a cemetery south of Cairo, Saqqara, where three other graves were found.

One tomb belonged to a “secret keeper”.

The largest of the mummies unearthed in the ancient necropolis is said to belong to a man named Khnumdjedef – a priest, inspector and overseer of nobles.

Another belonged to a man named Meri, who was a high-ranking palace official who was given the title of “secret keeper”, which allowed him to perform special religious rituals.

A judge and scribe named Fetek is believed to be buried in the other tomb, where a collection of what are believed to be the largest statues ever found in the area has been discovered.

Various other objects, including pottery, were also found among the graves.

Statues were found in graves at an archaeological site south of Cairo

Various statues and objects made of pottery were found in the graves

Archaeologist Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former minister of antiquities, has said all the discoveries date from around the 25th to 22nd centuries BC.

“This discovery is so important because it links the kings to the people who live around them,” said Ali Abu Deshish, another archaeologist involved in the excavation.

Saqqara was an active cemetery for over 3000 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in what was the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, it is home to more than a dozen pyramids – including the Step Pyramid, near where the mummy shaft was found.

Thursday’s discovery comes just a day after experts in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor said they had discovered an entire Roman-era residential town, dating back to the second and third centuries AD.

Archaeologists found residential buildings, towers and what they called “metal workshops” – containing pots, tools and Roman coins.

Egypt has made many major archaeological discoveries in recent years, as part of efforts to revive the tourism industry.

The government hopes its Grand Egyptian Museum, due to open this year due to delays, will attract 30 million tourists a year by 2028.

But critics have accused the Egyptian government of prioritizing media-grabbing finds over hard academic research to attract more tourism.

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