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article imageSkeletal remains of new pharaoh, King Senebkay found in Egypt

By Karen Graham     Jan 16, 2014 in Science
According to Egyptologists, the first of the Dynastic periods in ancient Egypt occurred around 3100 B.C. This early dynastic period supposedly started with a king called "Meni," who united the Upper and Lower kingdoms, solidifying his control.
It was announced today that an expedition from the University of Pennsylvania, working with the Egyptian government has discovered the skeletal remains of a previously unknown pharaoh who reigned about 3,600 years ago.
The skeleton of King Woseribre Senebkay, an unknown and unheard of pharaoh, was found at South Abydos in the Sohag province, about 500 km, or 300 miles south of Cairo. Senebkay's name was found inscribed in hieroglyphics inside a royal cartouche. An oval with a horizontal line at one end signaling a royal name, showed archaeologists the importance of the royal remains.
Abydos can be found just above Thebes on this map. Thebes is where the dynastic kings retreated afte...
Abydos can be found just above Thebes on this map. Thebes is where the dynastic kings retreated after the foreign invaders took over the country during the intermediate period.
Original by [[en:User:Andrei Nacu]], edits by Jeff Dahl
The sarcophagus was found to be heavily damaged inside a burial chamber with no roof. The burial chamber consisted of four rooms, and the stone walls were decorated with paintings, but there was little else to be found. It was obvious from the damage done to the skeleton that grave-robbers had broken into the burial chamber.
The pharaoh had originally been mummified, but the body had been torn apart. There was no funerary furniture found, either. Joseph Wegner, head of the expedition said in a statement that the small size of the tomb pointed to a decline in economic conditions during the king's reign.
Earlier excavation of the tomb showed it was built using blocks of stone from the Middle Kingdom. The sarcophagus was made of wood. Preliminary tests were able to determine the king was approximately six feet tall.
Wegner's statement also dates King Senebkay's rule at 1650 B.C., a period of time referred to as the second intermediate period. During this time, central authority had begun to collapse, and many small kingdoms were springing up. This continued through the Middle Kingdom and the start of the New Kingdom. Egypt was also undergoing a test of the power from the Hyksos, a Semitic Canaanite people who had invaded the country.
Senebkay's tomb was close to another larger royal tomb sarcophagus chamber, earlier identified as belonging to King Sobekhotep, who reigned during the 13th dynasty about 1780 B.C. It is not unusual that archaeologists are continuing to find the remains of previously unknown ancient kings in Abydos.
Part of the Abydos King List. Note the rows of cartouches.
Part of the Abydos King List. Note the rows of cartouches.
Steve F-E-Cameron
Abydos is one of the most ancient of cities in Egypt. This sacred city was the site of many temples, the most prominent, the Umm el-Qa'ab, a royal necropolis, the burial place of many of the early pharaohs. Today, Abydos is known for the Memorial Temple of Seti I.
Inside the temple is an inscription from the nineteenth dynasty known as Abydos King List. It bears the cartouches of the most dynastic Pharaohs of Egypt, from Menes to Ramesses I, Seti's father.
More about Pharoah, Egypt, Mummy discovered, Remains, hieroglyphics
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