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Early mummification found

By Associated Press
Published April 8, 2003

CAIRO, Egypt - Archaeologists digging out a 5,000-year-old burial site opened a tomb containing some of the earliest evidence of mummification, Egypt's antiquities chief said.

Archaeologists on Sunday opened wooden coffins found in an overlooked burial shaft in the Sakkara area, about 15 miles south of Cairo. One skeleton, lying in the fetal position and facing east, had linen wrapped around parts of the body.

"This is the evidence of the oldest man ever mummified, done only on the legs," Zahi Hawass said.

The burial site is believed to date to the first dynasty of the pharaohs, about 5,000 years ago. A nearby tomb opened earlier supported that dating, Hawass said. Salah Seliman, an antiquities inspector at the site, said perfection of mummification came during much later dynasties.

[Last modified April 8, 2003, 01:31:46]