A necropolis and residential settlement were uncovered Tuesday in Abydos in Sohag, almost 400 kilometres south of the temple of the New Kingdom pharaoh Seti I.
The settlement and Early Dynastic Period necropolis were found during excavation by an archaeological mission from the Ministry of Antiquities.
Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the newly discovered site could belong to high officials or architects responsible for the construction of the tombs and funerary walls of the pharaohs of the First Dynasty.
Afifi described the discovery as “very important” because it reveals new information that could change archaeologist's understanding of the history of ancient Abydos.
Daily life instruments unearthed
Excavators also uncovered 15 large mudbrick tombs of varying architectural design. The surface area of each, Afifi said, could reach 70 metres -- larger than that of a First Dynasty royal tomb.
“This size reflects the position of the tombs’ owners -- their importance and social level within the community of that period,” Afifi told Ahram Online.
He added that a group of mudbrick huts were also discovered within the settlement as well as a collection of artefacts from daily life, including the remains of a large number of clay vessels and stone tools used in land cultivation, which suggests that the huts could have belonged to workers supplying the settlement with provisions.
Remains of a hut uncovered
Yasser Mahmoud, the mission's field director, said that the uncovered tombs have a unique architectural design and one or more mastaba -- distinguished by flat roofs and sloping sides -- known only for pharaohs from the First and Third Dynasties at the Saqqara Necropolis. “This new discovery shows that the mastaba tombs were first used in Abydos for pharaohs from the First Dynasty,” Mahmoud said.
The newly discovered archaeological site