Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities announced the discovery of a 3,000-year-old cemetery in the Sacará necropolis, an archaeological site south of Cairo. Excavations were carried out in the vicinity of the pyramid of Pharaoh Teti, revealing constructions of temples and a cluster of 52 tombs buried between 10 and 12 meters deep.
The site was discovered by researchers in the area, suggesting the presence of a complex structure of burial chambers not yet explored. They recovered several items dated from the New Empire of Egypt, a period marked by dynasties that ruled the country from 1570 to 1069 B.C.
Although the coffins are less ornate than traditional sarcophagi, destined for the elite of the time, there are indications that their occupants were people of status, such as military leaders, aristocrats and princes.
Among the artifacts observed are: copies of verses from the Book of the Dead; collection of prayers and instructions for the deceased to guide them in the afterlife; wooden and ceramic figurines; bronze tools and objects of worship to the gods Anubis, Ptah and Osiris; and old boards similar to strategy games, like chess and checkers.
The first tombs in Sacará, dating from the pre-dynastic period, are older than the consolidation of Egypt itself, a time when the land along the Nile was divided between several smaller kingdoms. Excavations began in 2010 and involved digging up part of the site, examining mummified remains, as well as restoring warehouses made of clay bricks next to the temple.
With new operations started last week, inscriptions on obelisks and walls were also found, accompanied by the name of a queen named Neit, the pharaoh’s wife hitherto unknown by experts. “I had never heard of this queen before. So we added an important piece of Egyptian history about it, ”Zahi Hawass, the country’s archaeologist and former minister of antiquities, told CBS News.
Thus, the discovery also indicates that the couple founded the last dynasty of the Ancient Kingdom of Egypt, a time that marked the beginning of the country’s political division, known as the First Intermediate Period. The researcher pointed out that the recent discoveries may help to “rewrite” the history of ancient Egypt.