It’s March 2019 in Egypt, and a team of archaeologists are excavating an ancient burial ground. Thousands of years ago, the early pharaohs were laid to rest in this sprawling necropolis, buried beneath tombs and pyramids that kept their contents concealed from public view while dynasties rose and fell. But the researchers persevere, and in the process, they hit upon something incredible.
Since the 19th century, groups of excavators have combed the ruins of Saqqara in search of relics from the region’s fascinating past. During Egypt’s First Dynasty, the earliest nobles were buried here, after all, meaning thousands of years’ worth of history lies hidden somewhere beneath the arid, rocky ground.
But in July 2018 a gilded burial mask was unearthed at Saqqara, with the discovery being the first in a string that have put work here firmly under the spotlight. And perhaps the most impressive find so far came several months later in March 2019, when archaeologists stumbled upon a tomb in a extraordinary state of preservation – despite its staggering age.