For archaeologists and historians, Egypt is the place that just keeps on giving. Earlier in the week it was revealed that more than 800 new tombs have been discovered near the village of Lisht, located in the central part of the country south of Cairo. Those tombs are said to date back more than 4000 years to the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, making them potentially one of the biggest finds in recent memory.
The discovery was made through a joint effort between a team of researchers from the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. In just a single season in the field, the group was able to uncover and document 802 separate tombs, with the potential for more to follow.
The tombs, which have sat beneath layers of sand and dust for thousands of years, were first spotted by archaeologists on satellite images. Researchers looking at photos of the area could identify looting pits throughout the region, but weren’t exactly sure where they went. As they examined photos taken between 2009 and 2013, more of the pits appeared in the photos. This prompted an on-the-ground search to discover what exactly was happening there in Lisht.
Once physically in the village however, it quickly became apparent what they were dealing with. Dozens of exposed tombs led to the discover of hundreds more, most of which have already been looted –– possibly multiple times over the years. Still, the research teams believe there is a lot that can be learned from the tombs, which were probably created between 2030 and 1650 BC.
As I’ve mentioned before, these types of stories are fascinating. Egypt, a place I’ve visited on a couple of occasions, is already a treasure trove of historical sites and monuments. Yet, there still seems to be plenty of other things to discover there. Using technology like satellite images, ground-penetrating radar, and LiDar, I won’t be surprised if archaeologists don’t come across more significant finds in the future. There seem to be plenty of interesting sites like this one just waiting to be rediscovered.
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