In Photos: Egyptian mission discovers Old Kingdom tombs, 12 statues in Saqqara

Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 26 Jan 2023

An Egyptian archaeological mission unearthed a group of rich fifth and sixth dynasty tombs from the Old Kingdom in the Saqqara necropolis. Signs indicate the site, Gisr Al-Mudir, comprised a large ancient Egyptian cemetery.

 Old Kingdom tombs
Zahi Hawass at the site of the discovery


The most significant tomb belonged to Khnumdjedef, an inspector of the officials, a supervisor of the nobles, and a priest in the pyramid complex of Unas, the last king of the fifth dynasty. The tomb is decorated with scenes of daily life, said renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who headed the mission. 

The second largest tomb belonged to Meri, keeper of the secrets and assistant of the great leader of the palace.
Also discovered was a tomb for a priest comprising nine beautiful statues: one for a man and his wife; several servant statues; and others representing individuals. 

“Unfortunately, the expedition did not find any inscriptions that might identify the owners of these statues,” Hawass pointed out. 
However, he added, several months after the original discovery, the mission found a false door near the site where the statues were discovered. The owner of the false door was named Messi, who might have been the owner of the nine statues.

The mission found another beautiful statue of a standing man, with his wife holding his right leg and his daughter on the other side holding a goose.

Hawass asserted that the 15-metre-deep shaft is the most important discovery on the site because a large rectangular limestone sarcophagus was found at the bottom of the shaft. 
Inscriptions carved on the top of the sarcophagus revealed the name of its owner is Hekashepes. 

Examinations on the sarcophagus revealed that it was found to be completely sealed with mortar, just as the ancient Egyptians had left it 4,300 years ago. 

When the lid was opened, Hawass added, the mummy of a man was found covered with gold leaves. 

“This mummy may be the oldest and most complete mummy found in Egypt to date,” asserted Hawass.

Many stone vessels were found around the sarcophagus as well.

The mission also found a 10-metre-deep shaft with a group of beautiful wooden statues. In addition, three stone statues of a person named Fetek were found alongside an offering table and a stone sarcophagus that contained his mummy. 

The mission found at the site many amulets, stone vessels, tools for daily life, and statues of Ptah-Sokar.

Mostafa Waziry, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the expedition found a group of unique stone statues dating to the Old Kingdom. 

Many statues were found at Saqqara over the past century, but this is the largest group discovered in recent years.

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