Mysterious pink tomb unearthed in Egypt finally identified

14th Jan 2014

Barely a month goes by without Egypt adding to its seemingly inexhaustible treasure trove of cultural sites and antiquities to delight tourists.

One of its latest gems has finally been identified a year after it was unearthed.

The vast pink tomb of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh had remained a secret for thousands of years. Now the Egyptian government believes the 3,800-year-old quartzite sarcophagus is that of an unsung 13th Dynasty king called Sobekhotep I.

Egypt is already home to two of the world's most amazing ancient spectacles. Tourists can enjoy the jaw-dropping pyramids of Giza or view several artefacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun, which are stored in the Egyptian Museum, a must-see destination for holidaymakers on city breaks to Cairo.

The latest discovery was made by a crew of US and Egyptian archaeologists at the Abydos site near Sohag.

They believe it could throw light on a little-known historical era, which makes the discovery even more important.

Archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania and Egypt's Antiquities Ministry translated stone pieces inscribed with the pharaoh's name, which also depict him sitting on a throne, to associate the tomb with its owner.

Egypt's State Minister of Antiquities, Mohamed Ibrahim, who confirmed the identification of the 60-tonne sarcophagus, said: "He is likely the first who ruled Egypt at the start of the 13th Dynasty during the second intermediate period."

King Sobekhotep I is believed to have governed the 13th Dynasty but little is known about him. Scholars think the Dynasty began sometime between 1803BC and 1781BC and ran for nearly five years, but they are eager to investigate further and identify an exact date, said ministry official Ayman El-Damarani.

The holy city of Abydos sits west of the Nile and used to be a cemetery for Egyptian royalty.

It was also a favourite pilgrimage site where believers travelled to worship the god Osiris, according to The Huffington Post.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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