Egypt uncovers 7000-year-old lost city
Egyptian archeologists have discovered an ancient Egyptian city and graveyard dating back to around 5,300 BC, the antiquities ministry said on Wednesday.
The city and cemetery, likely home to officials tasked with building royal tombs, was discovered about 400 metres from the Temple of Seti I in the ancient city of Abydos in southern Egypt.
Excavators found huts, pottery and stone instruments, according to antiquities minister Mahmoud Afifi.
They also discovered 15 large graves - some of them even larger than royal graves in Abydos - suggesting they housed the bodies of important figures.
"This discovery can shed light on a lot of information on the history of Abydos," a ministry statement quoted Afifi as saying.
The city of Abydos, founded by predynastic rulers, is famed for its temples such as that of Seti I and its graves.
Egypt is rich with ancient sites built by the pharaohs.
Earlier this month, Spanish archaeologists discovered a millennia-old mummy in "very good condition" near the southern Egyptian town of Luxor.
The find was in a tomb probably dating from between 1075-664 BC, on the west bank of the Nile river 700 kilometres south of Cairo, a ministry statement said.
The mummy was found bound with linen that was stuck together with plaster.
It was in a brightly coloured wooden sarcophagus and had been buried near a temple from the era of fourth-millennium warrior king Thutmose III.
The earliest evidence of mummification in Egypt suggests that the practice of wrapping bodies to preserve them after death dates back as far as 4500 BC.
|This discovery can shed light on a lot of information on the history of Abydos.
- The Antiquities Ministry
The finds could boost the country's ailing tourism industry, which has been battered by political instability and militant violence since the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Meanwhile, a report released earlier this year showed looting of historical sites in Egypt surged amid the chaos that has followed the revolution in 2011.
Publishing her findings in the journal Antiquity, "space archaeologist" Sarah Parcak, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama, has examined satellite images of huge excavations left in the ground in recent years by tomb-robbers.
"The number of looting pits dug during 2009 and 2010 is, in our opinion, simply staggering," the study says.
Recording a total of 17,762 looting pits between 2009 and 2010, the study found that this number had surged to an annual average of 38,000 between 2011 and 2013.
This evidence suggests a strong link between the increase in looting and the upheaval of the Arab Spring.