Egypt has gone archaeologically mad in the past year, uncovering lost cities and parading dozens of pharaohs in the streets to encourage tourism. And now the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is publishing a stunning find from the archaeological site of Koum el-Khulgan: 1
The tombs contain the bodies of adults and children, often buried in ways appropriate to their time. According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, 68 of the bodies date from the Pre-dynastic period (about 3,000 BCE), a time before the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. Only 5 of the tombs date from the Early Dynastic Period (immediately after 3000 BCE), and the other 37 cover the Hyksos Dynasty (between 1782 and 1570 BCE), a short but significant period between the Middle and the New Kingdom.
The cemetery, which is located about 160 kilometers northeast of Cairo, offers great insight into burial rituals, ancient Egyptian art and of course the culture of ordinary people. It appears that the 68 Predynastic tombs come from the Buto, a civilization in Lower Egypt. Their bodies are squatted and their heads are turned west, towards the sunset. A pre-dynastic baby was also found buried in a jar at the site, a gesture we still don’t understand.
Several artifacts were discovered at the site, including ovens, bowls, furniture, and scarab amulets. Hieroglyphic seals made from clay were also discovered at the site. These stamps were often used to stamp official documents, similar to how a company or public department might stamp documents today.
We could expect more ancient Egyptian discoveries in the coming year. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi began expanding archaeological and tourism projects in early 2020 and has doubled down to try to restore Egypt’s damaged tourism activities. Before COVID-19, Egypt could expect more than 13 million tourists a year, but the country saw only 3.5 million tourists in 2020.
Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities via Smithsonian