Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Mummy of female pharaoh uncovered

Zahi Hawass and other excavators attend to sarcophagus
The discovery of such an old mummy is extremely rare, Egyptologists say

Egyptologists have discovered the remains of a mummy thought to belong to a queen who ruled 4,300 years ago, Egypt's antiquities chief has said.

The body of Queen Seshestet was found in a recently-discovered pyramid in Saqqara, Zahi Hawass announced.

She was mother of King Teti, founder of the Sixth Dynasty of pharaonic Egypt. Her name was not found but "all the signs indicate that she is Seshestet".

Such old royal mummies are rare. Most date from dynasties after 1800 BC.

Historians believe Queen Seshestet ruled Egypt for 11 years - making her one of a small number of women pharaohs.

It took five hours to lift the lid of a sarcophagus, according to a statement by Mr Hawass.

It contained a skull, legs, pelvis, other body parts wrapped in linen, pottery and gold finger wrappings.

The burial chamber was raided in antiquity by grave robbers who stole everything, including most valuables from inside the sarcophagus.

Print Sponsor

Man accused of smuggling mummies
24 Dec 08 |  Middle East
Egyptian treasures to go on show
09 Dec 08 |  Merseyside
Pair of tombs discovered in Egypt
23 Dec 08 |  Middle East

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific