Secret tomb belonging to an Ancient Egyptian ‘Priest of Magic’ discovered 4,500 years after it was sealed off from the world

By  Sarah Griffiths

PUBLISHED: 08:35 EST, 24  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 10:15 EST, 24 October 2013

A ‘huge’ limestone tomb belonging to an  important Egyptian physician has been discovered.

Archaeologists at Abusir Archaeological  Cemetery at Giza have unearthed the final resting place of Shepseskaf ‘ankh  that has been undisturbed for 4,500 years.

The generous size of the tomb, which is 69 by  45 feet long and 13 feet high, indicates the importance of the ancient medical  professional, who was Head of Physicians of Upper and Lower Egypt in the Fifth  Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.


Archaeologists at Abusir Archaeological Cemetery at Giza  have unearthed the final resting place of Shepseskaf ‘ankh that has been  undiscovered for 4,500 years. The generous size of he tomb indicates the  importance of the ancient medical professional


Vice head of the Ancient Egyptian sector, Ali  ALasfar, said a large door covered in hieroglyphs revealed that its occupant is  the ‘Priest of Khnum,’ or ‘Priest of Magic’.

The false door with the name and title of its  owner is located inside a chapel where the tomb itself was found, Fox News reported.

The door in the eastern part of the tomb also  says that the medicine man was one of the most important royal physicians in  Ancient Egypt at the time.


The large door covered in hieroglyphs revealed that its  occupant is the ‘Priest of Khnum’ or ‘Priest of Magic’


It is the third tomb of a physician  discovered in Abusir Cemetery, which is an enormous necropolis close to modern  Cairo and served as an elite burial place for the Ancient Egyptian capital of  Memphis.

Antiquities Minister Ibrahim Ali, said: ‘This  discovery is important because  this is the tomb of one of the greatest doctors  from the time of the  pyramid builders; one of the doctors closely tied to the  king.’

The necropolis where the tomb was found is  part of a vast pyramid field that stretches from north Giza to Saqqara and was  designed to supplement Giza, which was already filled up with funeral monuments  of the 5th Dynasty pharaohs, Heritage Daily reported.

The physician’s tomb makes up part of a 21 by  14 metre plot surrounded by walls four metres tall that is thought to belong to  a family.

The archaeologists must have been relieved to  find the tomb and highly-carved door intact, as parts of the site, along with  Saqqara and Dahshur was damaged by looters during the Egyptian protests in  2011.

Ancient Egyptian physicians used numerous  methods to heal patients but many of their techniques were also based on  religious beliefs and most physicians were also priests.

It was common for different priests to  act  as specialist medics, as they believed that different gods  governed different  parts of the human body.

Much of what is known about the priests and  doctors comes from ancient papyrus manuscripts that reveal the cures they used  as well as how they performed operations and used surgical implements to remove  cysts and tumours.

Some of the ‘cures’ composed of 600 drugs and  800 procedures, developed by the ancient physicians – such as applying direct  pressure to cuts – are still used today.


It is the third tomb of a physician discovered in Abusir  Cemetery (excavations are pictured), which is an enormous necropolis close to  modern Cairo and served as one of the most elite burial places for the Ancient  Egyptian capital of Memphis

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