Archaeologists identify mystery tomb as belonging to 13th Dynasty pharaoh
Archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania have finally completed the interpretation of stone slab pieces found in a tomb discovered in Egypt last year, leading to the discovery that the tomb belonged to a 13 th Dynasty king known as Sobekhotep I. The finding is significant because the 13 th Dynasty is a little known period of history and historians are not even sure when it began and who ruled when. It is hoped that the discovery could shed light on this period.
The finding was made at the archaeological site of Abydos, 300 miles south of Cairo when the team unearthed a massive 60-ton red quartzite sarcophagus. However, they weren’t able to identify its owner until last week when they found fragments of a stele inscribed with the pharaoh’s cartouche and depicting him enthroned.
Abydos is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt and is also one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt. It is home to many ancient temples and a royal necropolis where pharaohs were entombed. The temple and town were rebuilt many times at intervals down to the times of the thirtieth dynasty, and the cemetery was used continuously. From earliest times, Abydos was a cult centre, first of the local deity, Khentiamentiu, and from the end of the Old Kingdom, the rising cult of Osiris and Isis.
The tomb discovered in Abydos was built out of limestone and is believed to have been originally topped by a pyramid, although the remains of the structure have not been found. Inside the tomb archaeologists found canopic jars that once held the pharaoh’s viscera so they could be reunited with their mummified owner in the afterlife and some gold funerary objects.
Little is known about King Sobekhotep I, although it is believed he ruled for between 3 and 5 years, beginning in 1780 BC. Evidence suggests there are still many more royal tombs to be found …