The size of the grave reveals it belongs to someone of social affluence. (copyright Facebook/Ministry of Antiquities).

And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt – Matthew 2:14 (ESV)

Archaeologists have recently unearthed an ancient Egyptian city that was previously unknown. Located in the Upper Egyptian province of Sohag; the city was found alongside a nearby cemetery. It lies by the Nile river, close to the Temple of Seti the First in Abydos. Using conventional dating, it is believed by some to date back to more than 5,300 years ago. Recalling our Thinker post from January of last year on the discovery of a newly discovered pharaoh (and perhaps an entire dynasty that was previously unknown), this is further evidence that there is still much that we don’t know about the Egyptian people that lived and reigned in the early dynasties.

(copyright Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

As noted in Deutsche Welle article, “The find was located near the well-known ancient Egyptian city of Abydos, most famous for its temple dedicated to Seti the First, the father of the most famous pharaoh in history – Ramesses the Great.” He is believed by most scholars to be the pharaoh of the Exodus. However, as seen in the film Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus, there is a growing body of evidence that points to a much earlier Exodus. Each new piece of evidence that is discovered adds to the puzzle and helps to illustrate the past. Antiquities Minister Mahmoud Afifi is quoted in a statement saying, “This discovery can shed light on a lot of information on the history of Abydos” Abydos is one of the oldest known cities of ancient Egypt and the historic capital of Upper Egypt.

The discovery of this ancient city was made by an archaeological mission, belonging to the country’s Antiquities Ministry and not foreign groups. The team found remains of ancient huts and 15 large graves. “Experts say the size of the 15 newly discovered graves indicates the high social standing of those buried,” according to a BBC article on the discovery. The city is thought to be home to important officials of high standing, as well as tomb builders. It is likely that this city would have “flourished during early-era ancient Egyptian times.” Another interesting hypothesis is that the officials and tomb builders that lived in this city may have been engaged in the “construction of royal graves in the nearby sacred city of Abydos – a place of many temples, and a capital in an early period of ancient Egyptian history.”

By studying both the structure of the dwellings and tombs as well as the tools and pottery recovered; we can learn a little about the people who once lived here. The cemeteries have many mastabas, which are a type of ancient tomb that was constructed of mud bricks. The main part being a rectangle with sloping sides and a flat roof. The ones discovered at this site are now the oldest ones found. The next oldest are located in Saqqara.

Behold, you are trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. – Isaiah 36:6 (ESV)

(copyright Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

In addition to the ancient huts and tombs, archaeologists also found iron tools and pottery, According to researchers, these items are “traces of a once giant labor force that was engaged in the considerable feat of constructing these royal tombs – and if you’ve seen the kinds of structures we’re talking about, you’ll understand they had a pretty epic responsibility.”