Archaeologists find 4,000 year-old tomb of prominent doctor to pharaohs southwest of Cairo
A Czech archaeological mission in Egypt has discovered a 4,000-year-old tomb which belonged to a prominent doctor to the pharaohs in the fifth dynasty, which began its rule shortly after 2,500 BC. The burial chamber was found in the Abusir Necropolis, approximately 25km from the Giza plateau.
The tomb, which measures 21 metres by 14 metres, is carved in limestone and consists of a large open court, eight burial chambers for the doctor and his family members, and a very distinguished huge false door engraved with the name Shepseskaf-Ankh, who appears to have been the Head of Physicians of upper and lower Egypt. Among the other titles for Shepseskaf engraved in the door were ‘The priest of god Khnum,’ who provides life, and ‘The priest of Sun temples’ for several fifth dynasty kings.
“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,” said Antiquities Minister Ibrahim Ali.
The Deputy Head of the ancient Egyptian section at the Ministry of State of Antiquities, Ali Al-Asfar, said that the titles engraved on the door reflect the high status of Shepseskaf-Ankh, who came from an elite Egyptian family that was close to the ruler kings.
The area where the tomb was found is an extensive Old Kingdom necropolis that served as one of the main elite cemeteries for the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. It houses the remains of 14 pyramids, which served as burials for the fifth dynasty kings as well as sun temples, and tombs of many priests and officials who worked in the pyramid complex.
The team of archaeologists who discovered the tomb are now looking for the mummified remains of the doctor’s relatives.
Asfar said the area in which the grave was found appeared to be a family plot and the Czech team of archaeologists was now looking for mummies of relatives.