Egyptian archaeologists working on the Nile Delta have uncovered dozens of rare predynastic tombs dating from the period before the emergence of the Egyptian pharaonic kingdoms more than 5,000 years ago.
They also found graves near the later Hyksos period (1650BC to 1500BC), when migrants from West Asia took control of the country, ending the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.
Finds in Dakahlia province north of Cairo could shed light on two important transitional periods in ancient Egypt, Egyptologists have said.
The tombs include 68 from the Buto period which began around 3300 BC and five from the Naqada III period, just before the emergence of the first Egyptian dynasty around 3100 BC, according to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
They also include 37 tombs from the time of the Hyksos, who began to migrate through Sinai into Egypt around 1800 BC.
“It 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, Egyptologist at the American University in Cairo.
“Egyptologists are struggling to understand how the Egyptians and the Hyksos lived together and to what extent the former adopted Egyptian traditions.”
The Buto graves were oval shaped graves with the corpses placed inside in a squatting position, mostly on the left side, with their heads pointing west, according to the ministry statement.
Some of the tombs from the Naqada period contained cylindrical and pear-shaped vessels.
The Hyksos tombs were mostly semi-rectangular with the elongated corpses and the head also facing west.
“The mission also found a group of ovens, stoves, remains of mud brick foundations, pottery vessels and amulets, especially scarabs, some of which were made of semi-precious stones and jewelry. such as earrings, ”the statement said.