CAIRO: The excavation mission working in the Dakahlia province, north of Cairo, discovered dozens of rare predynastic tombs dating back to the period before Egypt's Pharaonic kingdoms first emerged more than 5,000 years ago.
The discovery on the Nile Delta was made during an excavation in the Koum El-Khulgan area in Dakahlia.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the 110 tombs that were uncovered include 68 from the Buto period that began around 3300 B.C. and five from the Naqada III period, which was just before the emergence of Egypt's first dynasty around 3100 B.C.
They also include 37 tombs from the time of the Hyksos, who first began migrating across the Sinai into Egypt around 1800 B.C. Waziri said that digging is underway to uncover more secrets.
“This is an extremely interesting cemetery because it combines some of the earliest periods of Egyptian history with another important era, the time of the Hyksos,” said Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo.
“Egyptologists are working to understand how the Egyptians and the Hyksos lived together and to what degree the former took on Egyptian traditions.”
Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector in the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the Buto tombs were oval-shaped pits with the corpses placed inside in a squatting position, mostly on their left sides with the head pointing west.
That is in addition to uncovering the remains of a baby burial in a pottery vessel from the Boto II period, with a small spherical pottery vessel placed with it.
He added that the five tombs dating back to the Naqada III era were also oval-shaped. Two tombs were covered from all sides with a layer of clay.
Nadia Khedr, head of the Central Department of Lower Egypt at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the cemeteries of the Hyksos period contained 37 tombs, of which 31 were semi-rectangular pits with depths ranging between 20 and 85 centimeters.
She added that these tombs are characterized by the extended position of the burials, with the head facing west and up.
The mission also found a small pot and a silver earring in addition to the remains of a baby placed inside a large clay pot. The funerary furniture was placed inside a black pot.
The mission also discovered ovens, stoves, the remains of mud-brick foundations, pottery vessels, along with amulets and scarabs, some of which were made of semi-precious stones.