Over 100 mummies and a pyramid of a queen discovered near King Tut’s tomb

The queen’s identity is a mystery for now.
Nergis Firtina
A mummy model in Egypt
A mummy model in Egypt


Archaeologists found a large number of tombs and mummies buried in Giza near King Tut's tomb, which was discovered 100 years ago.

A pyramid that belongs to a previously unknown ancient Egyptian queen has been found outside King Tutankhamun's tomb, along with a trove of coffins, mummies, and artifacts and a network of tunnels, Live Science reported.

Archaeologists have been working at Saqqara, a site south of Cairo, for the past two years, and the finds may have belonged to one of the generals closest to King Tutankhamun.

Focusing on Teti's Dynasty

Teti was the first king of Egypt's Sixth Dynasty. He was also occasionally referred to as Othoes, Tata, Atat, or Athath in dated sources. He was laid to rest in Saqqara. His precise reign's duration has been lost on the Turin King List. However, it is estimated to have lasted for roughly 12 years.

High officials started to construct burial monuments that were comparable to those of the pharaoh during Teti's reign.

"Teti was worshipped as a god in the New Kingdom period, and so people wanted to be buried near him," Zahi Hawass, an Egyptologist who is working on the dig and who formerly served as Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, told LiveScience.

"However, most burials known in Saqqara previously were either from the Old Kingdom or the Late Period. Now we have found 22 shafts, ranging from 30 to 60 feet (9 to 18 meters), all with New Kingdom burials."

Over 100 mummies and a pyramid of a queen discovered near King Tut’s tomb
Step Pyramid in Saqqara

"Huge limestone sarcophagus" along with "300 beautiful coffins from the New Kingdom period," Hawass added.

"Burials from the New Kingdom were not known to be common in the area before, so this is entirely unique to the site."

"The coffins have individual faces, each one unique, distinguishing between men and women, and are decorated with scenes from the Book of the Dead. Each coffin also has the name of the deceased and often shows the Four Sons of Horus, who protected the organs of the deceased."

The mummies are in a good condition

According to Hawass, the mummification process was at high noon in the New Kingdom era. "Inside the coffins and tomb shafts are also various artifacts, including games such as the ancient game of Senet, shabtis (tiny figurines), statues of the god Ptah-Sokar and even a metal axe found in the hand of an army soldier," he said.

Besides all of the remnants and novel findings, the queen's identity has not been revealed yet.

"We have since discovered that her name was Neith, and she had never before been known from the historical record," Hawass said. "It is amazing to literally rewrite what we know of history, adding a new queen to our records."

Mummification in Ancient Egypt

Mummification describes the techniques the ancient Egyptians deployed to treat or embalm a corpse. The Egyptians used unique techniques to completely dry out the body, leaving behind a dried form that would not quickly decompose.

Their faith stressed the importance of keeping the corpse as lifelike as possible. They were so prosperous that, three thousand years later, we can look at an Egyptian's mummified body and get a fair picture of how they appeared in life.

"Mummification was practiced throughout most of early Egyptian history. The earliest mummies from prehistoric times probably were accidental. By chance, dry sand and air (since Egypt has almost no measurable rainfall) preserved some bodies buried in shallow pits dug into the sand. About 2600 BCE, during the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties, Egyptians probably began to mummify the dead intentionally," says Smithsonian.

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