Ancient Egyptians embalmed their dignitaries who died a millennium earlier than previously thought, experts say

New evidence reveals that the ancient Egyptians used advanced mummification techniques a thousand years earlier than previously believed, which could significantly alter our knowledge of this civilization. According to Guardian, this is just one of the tempting discoveries that will be unveiled from November 7 as part of National Geographicthe docuseries of Lost treasures of Egypt, produced by Windfall Films.

In the fourth episode, “Rise of the Mommies”, which is due to air on November 28, a team of archaeologists discovers that the body of Khuwy, a dignitary whose grave was found in 2019, dates from the Old Kingdom, the period spanning approximately 2700-2200 BCE, and is one of the oldest mummies ever found.

“This would completely change our understanding of the evolution of mummification,” said Professor Salima Ikram, of the American University in Cairo. Guardia. “All books on mummification and the history of the Old Kingdom will need to be revised.”

Inside the newly discovered tomb of ancient Egyptian nobleman Khuwy at Saqqara necropolis. Photo: Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP.

When archaeologists first stumbled upon the massive and surprisingly well-preserved necropolis of Saqqara, south of Cairo, in 2019, they realized it was 4,000 years old, dating it to the Fifth Dynasty, which fell. extended from the 25th to the 24th century BC. discovery and a tour of the vivid paintings inside Khuwy’s tomb was featured in an earlier season of the National Geographic series, which also showed that the necropolis was lined with pottery, in particular canopic jars, or urns used to contain the entrails of an embalmed body,

Analyzes of the Saggara discovery are emerging. According to Ikram, the preservation method and materials – which researchers determined to be fine linen dressed in high-quality resin – had only been identified a thousand years after Khuwy’s burial. Instead, the researchers believed that a more rudimentary mummification process – consisting of a basic moisture leaching procedure, rarely removing internal organs and never the brain – was the norm. “This mummy is inundated with resins and textiles,” Ikram told the Guardian, adding: “The materials used, their origins and the trade routes associated with them will have a tremendous impact on our understanding of Old Kingdom Egypt.

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