Egypt's oldest mummy found 'covered in layers of gold' following year-long excavation

A mummy "completely covered in layers of gold" may be the oldest and most complete ever found in Egypt.

The ancient man's well-preserved sarcophagus has been discovered after a year-long excavation just outside of the capital Cairo. It is just one of dozens of new archaeological discoveries found in Egypt.

Researchers believe it belonged to a man named Hekashepes and that his remains are around 4,300 years old.

The mummy was found at the bottom of a 15m (50ft) shaft near what is considered Egypt's first pyramid structure, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara.

Zahi Hawass, director of the excavation team, said: "I put my head inside to see what was inside the sarcophagus: A beautiful mummy of a man completely covered in layers of gold."

The team told reporters the mummy dates back to the fifth and sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom, which spanned from roughly 2,500 BC to 2,100 BC.

Another of the uncovered tombs belonged to a priest known as Khnumdjedef. He served under Unas, the last king of ancient Egypt's fifth dynasty. The inside of the tomb was decorated with scenes of daily life.

The other belonged to an official named Meri, who held the title "keeper of the secrets and assistant to the great leader of the palace," the team said.

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Statues and amulets were among the other major findings of the excavation, including one which represented a man, his wife and several servants.

The discovery follows the digital unwrapping of a mummified teenager with a heart of gold, 2,300 years after it was buried.

CT scans revealed the lengths his family went to in attempting to ensure the 14 or 15-year-old's safe passage to the afterlife. He was buried with 49 amulets - including a golden scarab where his heart would have been - and a golden tongue inside his mouth.