The tomb of a previously unknown Egyptian pharaoh has been discovered by Egyptian archeologists.
The remains date back to about 1650 B.C. and belong to King Seneb Kay, who may have been the first to rule Egypt at the beginning of the 13th Paranoiac dynasty. The discovery was made near the southern city of Sohag, about 300 miles south of Cairo.
The archeological team from the University of Pennsylvania was able to decipher hieroglyphics on the wall, which uncovered the king’s name, the Associated Press reports. While there is not much information about the king, ministry official Ayman El-Damarani said Saneb Kay “ruled Egypt for four years and a half, the longest rule at this time.”
Mohamed Ibrahim, a minister from Egypt’s Ministry of State of Antiquities, says the discovery may shed light on how local families lived during the Second Intermediate Period, considered one of the most pivotal phases in the country’s ancient history, Ahram Online reports.
“This adds to our pharaonic history, and sheds light on an era about which we knew very little previously,” Head of Antiquities Ali al-Asfar told the AP.
The king, who reigned more than 3,600 years ago, was laid to rest in a white sheet. His tomb was discovered in a badly damaged state with no roof. “He was originally mummified but his body was pulled apart by ancient tomb robbers,” said a caption that accompanied one of the photos of the tomb.
“No funerary furniture was found in the tomb, confirming it had been robbed in the ancient pharaonic ages,” Ali al-Asfar was quoted in the statement.
Early excavation of the tomb reveals that it was built with blocks used in tombs from the Middle Kingdom. The sarcophagus, which was made from wood, still contained the skeleton remains of the king. Preliminary tests show the king was roughly six feet in length, El-Asfar said.
Joseph Wagner, an archeologist from the University of Pennsylvania who was involved in the excavation, said the surrounding tombs belong to the Abydos dynasty from the 13th century. The tomb’s poor shape sheds light on the state of the country during that time — central authority collapsed and small kingdoms emerged.
Earlier this month, the tomb of an ancient Egyptian brewer was found on the west bank of the Nile. Excavation on the site began in December 2007, but it was only recently that an archeological team uncovered that tomb, National Geographic reports.
It was tomb that belonged to the chief “maker of beer for gods of the dead,” who was also the head of a warehouse. When the discovery was announced, Ibrahim said the tomb contained “fabulous designs and colors, reflecting details of daily life … along with their religious rituals.”