Antiquities and Archaeology
Ancient physician’s tomb discovered in Egypt
New find made despite continued attacks on archaeological sites by organised gangs
By Garry Shaw. Web only
Published online: 23 October 2013
A new tomb has been discovered by a Czech archaeological team working at Abu Sir, an ancient necropolis just outside of Cairo. Inscriptions within state that it belonged to a head physician named Shepseskaf-ankh, who lived during Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty (around 2392BC-2282BC). Shepseskaf-ankh was also a priest of Re in the temple of the sun, a priest of the god Khnum and a priest of magic. It is the third tomb at Abu Sir found to belong to a physician.
The vault, made from limestone, is notable for its huge size, 21m by 4m, and its impressive false door, a typical feature of Egyptian tombs that allowed the deceased to travel from the burial chamber into the chapel above; this still bears traces of black ink, as well as carved images of Shepseskaf-ankh himself.
The discovery comes at a time when organised gangs continue to attack archaeological sites across Egypt, and travel warnings have led to many excavation teams cancelling their fieldwork seasons.
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