Archaeologists have uncovered a 4,000 year old tomb southwest of Cairo, Egypt that is believed to hold the remains of a prominent doctor to the pharaohs.
Senior antiquities ministry official Ali al-Asfar said that the 70-feet by 46-feet tomb discovered in Abusir was found under a dense layer of rubble. During the excavation the team found remains of mummies, wooden coffins, skeletons and pottery dating back 4,000 years.
“This discovery is important because this is the tomb of one of the greatest doctors from the time of the pyramid builders, one of the doctors closely tied to the king,” Antiquities Minister Ibrahim Ali said in a statement, according to the AFP news agency.
He said that the area where they discovered the tomb appeared to be a family plot, so the team is now looking for mummies of relatives. Abusir houses the pyramids of several pharaohs of the Fifth Dynasty, which began ruling shortly after 2,500 BC.
Abusir is an extensive necropolis from the old Kingdom close to the Egyptian capital, Cairo. The site once served as one of the main elite cemeteries for the ancient capital city of Memphis. Abusir suffered from looters during the 2011 Egyptian protest, during which part of the false door from the tomb of the priest Rahotep was stolen, and store rooms were broken into.
Schebseskaf Anch, the physician unearthed in the latest excavation, was also a priest in several sun temples under the 5th Dynasty pharaohs.
“The historical importance of the latest discoveries of our team rests particularly in that Schebseskaf Anch was one of the highest placed physicians known in the ancient Egypt of the period of pyramid builders, that is the Old Kingdom,” said Egyptologist Miroslav Barta, who headed the team in the excavation and is director of the Czech Egyptological Institute of the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague, in a statement to CTK.
He said that two tombs of physicians had already been unearthed in the complex in previous seasons. It is an entirely unique burial place of physicians who were members of very important families at the pharaoh’s court.
“We know more physicians from this locality. Schebseskaf Anch was also a priest in several sun temples, which is a theme that is strongly connected with Abusir where we are doing our work in Egypt,” Egyptologist Jaromir Krejci told CTK.
Princess Sheretnebty from the 5th dynasty is located not far from the tomb complex, which the same Czech archaeologist team discovered last year.
Krejci said that Schebseskaf Anch’s tomb helps to provide many new pieces of information on the 5th dynasty period.