Old Kingdom settlement found in Cairo
A settlement dating back to the time of the pyramid builders was discovered in Egypt's western desert, the first find of its kind there, Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA) said today.
"A joint Egypt-Czech archaeological mission found a city dating to the Old Kingdom (2687-2191 BC) in the Garat al-Abyad region in Bahariya," SCA chief Zahi Hawass said, referring to an isolated oasis 400 kilometres southwest of Cairo.
"Remains of walls, buildings as well as pottery were found in this area not far from where the golden mummies were discovered," said Mr Hawass, recalling the cache of Roman-era gilded mummies found in the late 1990s to great fanfare.
In 1999, he electrified the archaeology world with his announcement of the discovery of hundreds of mummies in the little-known oasis, many in golden sarcophagi.
According to his colourful story, the mummies were found in 1996 when a guard's donkey tripped on a hole, revealing a glint of gold.
The latest find is "an important discovery for Bahariya as it is the first time a site dating to the Old Kingdom has been discovered in this region where up till now there have only been Stone Age remnants or Middle Kingdom ruins", Mr Hawass said.
"This period is a missing link in the history of this region," he said.
Egypt's chain of desert oases in ancient times hosted thriving communities that traded with the Nile Valley.
Web de la misión: