Not solely corners off the beaten track may prove precious for scientists, but even well-known touristy spots provide numerous opportunities for those trying to dig out historic truths. Egypt’s Saqqara cemetery is one of these.
As Egypt connoisseur Chris Naunton shared with the Express, he is “100 percent certain” there are still unearthed tombs just yards away from the wildly popular Step Pyramid – the first of its class to have been erected, and there is a “strong possibility” that its architect, the legendary Imhotep was buried at the spot.
The author of “Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt”, Naunton says he is pretty certain about the location of the ancient architect’s final resting place.
Not a royal from birth, Imhotep is recorded to have been deeply respected by the pharaoh’s family, and two thousand years after his death, his status has risen to that of a god of medicine and healing.
“The most fascinating possibility for an Egyptologist is that you could find a royal tomb”, Naunton remarked, bringing up a common assumption that since a great deal of archaeology has been done, “there can’t possibly be anything like that still to find”. He firmly negated the stance, saying researchers are digging out things all the time and “every so often an incredible discovery”.
“Despite the fact that Egypt has been the focus of so much attention from archaeologists and the wider public as well, there are still parts of the best-known cemeteries that haven’t been properly investigated”, the expert went on, giving the example of Saqqara – a large cemetery at least two or three miles long, by half a mile wide where the archaeology is, he says, is incredibly dense.
Naunton recounted that it was in use from the first dynasty, running to the late antiquities and beyond – “so it was in use for 3,000 years and for most of that time it was the most important cemetery for the whole country”, the researcher summed up.
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When asked why Saqqara doesn’t not attract too many archaeologists, Naunton explained that it’s way more difficult to excavate than what catches an eye.
“There’s just layers and layers of archaeology there and digging is labour-intensive, time-consuming and for the last 120 years archaeologists have been very conscious that you can’t just dig things up and ignore it, everything must be properly documented and recorded”, Naunton explained stating that the time of the digging should be multiplied by 10 or 20 to arrive at the time needed for the proper documentation of the findings.
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