Mystery tomb identified by wall decoration: Discovery of pharoah Senebkay’s last resting place could lead to more royal finds
- University of Pennsylvania and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities experts identified the tomb by an inscription on the wall of his burial chamber
- It is the first time that any trace of the pharaoh has been found
- Tomb was unearthed at the Abydos archaeological site, near the city of Sohag, Egypt and was found next to another recently-discovered royal tomb
PUBLISHED: 09:48 GMT, 16 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:38 GMT, 16 January 2014
Experts identified the tomb of Senebkay by an inscription on the wall of his burial chamber, which was unearthed at the Abydos archaeological site, near the city of Sohag, Egypt.
It is the first time that any trace of the pharaoh has been found.
Archaeologists from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and the University of Pennsylvania identified the tomb of Senebkay by drawings on the wall of his burial chamber (pictured), which was unearthed in the Abydos archaeological site
Ali Asfar, head of antiquities for the Egyptian government said that only fragments of the name have previously been seen on an ancient list of Egyptian rulers.
‘This was the first time in history to discover the king,’ he told NBC News.
It is thought that Senebkay lived around 3,650 years ago at a time when rulers battled for power before the rise of Egypt’s New Kingdom in 1550 BC.
Painted decoration in the burial chamber of Senebkay is pictured left. Archaeologists examine Senebkay’s skeleton on the right. While his body was mummified, it is thought Senebkay’s remains were pulled apart by robbers looking for treasures, who also plundered the pharaoh’s tomb
The lost tomb was discovered by a team of archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania, who came across it while excavating the tomb of pharaoh Sobekhotep I, who was buried nearby.
Senebkay’s final resting place appears to have been plundered because the skeleton is pulled apart, but it is estimated that the ruler was aged around 45 when he died and measured five ft 10 inches.
Josef Wegner of the university, who led the dig, believes the new find could lead to the discovery of more pharaohs and could help piece together the gaps in knowledge about the rulers of Ancient Egypt.
The lost tomb (pictured) was discovered by a team of archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania, who came across it while excavating the tomb of pharaoh Sobekhotep I, who was buried nearby
The tomb was discovered at the Abydos site (pictured) near Sohag in Egypt and could lead to more royal tombs being unearthed. Last week it was announced that the same archaeological team had uncovered the Tomb of pharaoh Sobekhotep I
‘We discovered an unknown king plus a lost dynasty. It looks likely that all of the 16 kings are all buried there,’ he said.
‘We now have the tomb for first or second king of this dynasty. There should be a whole series of the others.’
Describing the moment the archaeologists came across the tomb, he explained that they found the entrance first, which led them down to the burial chamber, made of limestone and painted with cartouches of the pharaoh.
Last week it was announced that a vast 3,800-year-old quartzite sarcophagus belongs to a little-known 13th dynasty king, Sobekhotep I. It was discovered by an international team of researchers who deciphered inscriptions to link it to its owner
‘In Abydos there is lots of sand and everything is deeply buried. You can dig day after day, and then this….We were standing there looking dumbfounded at the colourful wall decoration,’ he said.
While robbers had stripped the tomb, a re-used burial chest had the engraving of the ruler’s name on the wood.
The experts said the re-use of materials suggests a lack of stability and wealth at a time when the kingdom was fragmented.
…AND THE TOMB OF PHARAOH SOBEKHOTEP WAS IDENTIFIED LAST WEEK
A huge pink tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh was identified approximately one year after it was discovered, it was announced last week.
The vast 3,800-year-old quartzite sarcophagus belongs to a little-known 13th Dynasty king called Sobekhotep I, according to the Egyptian government.
The 60 tonne sarcophagus was discovered by the same team of archaeologists at the Abydos site and
The same team or researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry deciphered stone pieces inscribed with the pharaoh’s name, which also show him sitting on a throne, to link the tomb to its owner.
‘He is likely the first who ruled Egypt at the start of the 13th Dynasty during the second intermediate period,’ the minister said.
King Sobekhotep I is thought to have ruled the 13th Dynasty but little is known about him and his kingdom or even when the dynasty began exactly, which makes the discovery particularly important.
Historians believe that it began sometime between 1803BC and 1781BC but they are keen to establish a precise date.
He is thought to have ruled for almost five years, which was ‘the longest rule at this time’ according to ministry official Ayman El-Damarani.