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The False Door in the Old Kingdom tomb. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Smithsonian Channel.

Uncovering an Egyptian Tomb’s "False Door" to the Underworld (Video)


The recent discovery of an ancient tomb from the Old Kingdom era has ignited excitement among archaeologists. This remarkable find predates many other historical artifacts by around two millennia, offering a unique glimpse into Egypt's distant past. As experts step into the tomb, they are struck by the interior's breathtaking beauty. On the far wall, perfectly preserved painted inscriptions come into view. These inscriptions adorn a unique type of panel known as a "false door." In ancient Egyptian belief, the false door served as a mystical gateway to the afterlife, allowing the deceased's soul, known as the "ba," to travel between the realms of the living and the dead.

These false doors were highly embellished, featuring the individual's titles, name, and image, encapsulating their identity within a small space. Notably, one of the inscriptions reveals the occupant's prestigious title as a "royal acquaintance." In the Old Kingdom, this designation was reserved for those who held a privileged place within the king's inner circle, often serving as advisors or high-ranking government officials. In an age where the pharaohs wielded absolute power and boundless wealth, these false doors served as a passport to a second life for those who had earned their place near the king, ensuring a smooth journey to the afterlife.

Top image: The False Door in the Old Kingdom tomb. Source: YouTube Screenshot / Smithsonian Channel.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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