by Meilan Solly/Smithsonianmag.com
Excavations along the Nile Delta have unearthed 110 tombs spanning three eras of ancient history, reports Mustafa Marie for Egypt Today.
Per a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, 68 of the burials date to the late Predynastic Period (around 3300 B.C.), when the Nile Valley was still split into Upper and Lower Egypt. Five date to the Naqadda III culture, which rose to prominence in the decades preceding the unification of Egypt in 3000 B.C., while the other 37 represent an intermediate era (roughly 1782 to 1570 B.C.) between the Middle and New Kingdoms. During this period, the enigmatic Hyksos dynasty ruled for more than a century before ceding control to the returning pharaohs. (For comparison’s sake, the Pyramids of Giza date to about 2500 B.C.)
“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,” says Salima Ikram, an Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo who wasn’t involved in the recent excavation, to Reuters’ Patrick Werr. “[Scholars] are working to understand how the Egyptians and the Hyksos lived together and to what degree the former took on Egyptian traditions.”