Egyptologists excavating a prehistoric cemetery close to the Step Pyramid of Djoser discovered what has been dubbed ‘the earliest and most complete mummy unearthed in Egypt to date.’
The remains of a wealthy man with the hieroglyphic name Heka-shepas were found inside a limestone sarcophagus at the bottom of
a 45-foot (15-meter) shaft. Heka-shepas was likely the oldest non-blue-blood mummy ever discovered.
How old was Heka-shepas at the time? The tomb of the ‘Boy King,’ Tutenkhamon, was first opened 100 years ago last year.
Heka-shepas had already been dozing beneath the sands for more than a thousand years by the time the Boy King came to power.
The shaft containing him was discovered close to the present-day community of Saqqara, which served as Egypt’s Old Kingdom capital between 2,700 and 2,200 BCE.
His remains were discovered with pieces of jewelry adorning the body and were coated in gold leaf.
Other shafts were discovered nearby that revealed significant wooden statues, some of which were concealed by a fake wall.
According to renowned Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass’ Instagram post, ‘the crew unearthed three stone figurines symbolizing a person named Fetek.’ A stone coffin containing his body was nearby, as well as an offering table.
Along with the discovery, two more mummies were found. In the pyramid complexes of King Pepi I and Unas, respectively, the priests Khnum-djed-ef and Messi were discovered.
The Step Pyramid of Djoser is regarded to be the oldest monumental stone structure in Egypt, and the surrounding Saqqara cemetery has previously produced a number of exceptional artifacts.
Both the royal treasurer of Pharaoh Ramses II and the tomb of Queen Nearit, who was the wife of King Teti, the first ruler of the sixth dynasty of the Old Kingdom, were discovered there in 2021.