Archeologists at Saqqara Necropolis in Egypt have discovered a massive tomb and a trove of artifacts dating back to the ancient New Kingdom. The artifacts unearthed include a 13-foot-long “Book of the Dead” scroll.
The science and other stuff to know
A team of archeologists has been working at Saqqara Necropolis archaeological site for more than four years. In Jan 2022, researchers unveiled ancient treasures at the site. Among the most important discoveries include 52 burial shafts that were 10-12 meters deep. Researchers said the shafts contained hundreds of wooden coffins, and the massive tomb dates back to the New Kingdom, ancient Egyptian history between 1550-1070 BCE. It covers the 18th, 19th, and 20th Dynasties of Egypt.
One of the most fascinating objects found in the burial shafts was a 13-foot-long (4 meters) papyrus that contained Chapter 17 of the “Book of the Dead,” a series of ancient Egyptian texts that ancient Egyptians used to help guide the deceased through the afterlife.
The name of the papyrus’s owner, Pwkhaef, was written on the scroll. That same name was also found on one of the wooden coffins and on four shabti figurines meant to serve the deceased in the afterlife, according to researchers.
Other finds archeologists unearthed include wooden funerary masks and a shrine dedicated to the god Anubis (Guardian of the Cemetery). The team also found ancient board games and a limestone stela belonging to a man named Khaptah (identified as the overseer of the pharaoh’s military chariot) and his wife, Mwtemwia.
These discoveries rewrite the history of Saqqara, especially during the 18th and 19th dynasties of the New Kingdom. They also confirm that Saqqara wasn’t only for burial during the Late Period but also during the New Kingdom.
“This discovery rewrites the history of Saqqara and, more specifically, the history of the New Kingdom, which began 3,000 years ago,” said famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass.
According to Hawass, most burials were likely part of a Teti-worshipping cult that formed after the pharaoh’s death in 2291 B.C. The cult remained active for more than a millennium, with people wanting to be buried near his pyramid.
Most recently, archeologists unearthed another massive tomb containing more than 300 well-preserved mummies. In addition, they also uncovered a pyramid of a previously unknown Egyptian queen. Hopefully, these findings will shed more light on one of the most mysterious cultures and help Egyptologists uncover more Ancient Egyptian secrets.