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Tomb of Ancient Egyptian Physician

Doc buried at Abusir served a king 4,400 years ago, say archaeologists.
Hieroglyphs spell out the physician's titles around a false door, a symbolic portal between this
world and the next
Photograph by Martin Frouz, Archive of the Czech Institute of Egyptology
Elizabeth Snodgrass
National Geographic
Published October 25, 2013
A team of !"ech archaeologists excavating at the site of Abusir, #$ miles %&$ 'ilometers( south
of !airo, has discovered the large limestone tomb of a top royal physician from about &)** +!
The phsician!s na"e #as Shepses$a%&'n$h, #hich "eans (Shepses$a% is li)ing(*a tribute to the last
$ing o% the %ourth dnast during the period $no#n as the Old +ingdo",
's the -ead o% the Phsicians o% .pper and /o#er Egpt, Shepses$a%&'n$h ser)ed the roal household
during the %i%th dnast, -e is especiall associated #ith a $ing na"ed Niuserre, #ho ruled Egpt %or at
least a decade,
0irosla) 12rta, director o% the archaeological tea" %ro" the 3zech 4nstitute o% Egptolog, is particularl
pleased #ith the historical details contained in the to"b as #ell as its architectural preser)ation, (This
"icrocos"os illustrates general trends that ruled the societ o% the da,( he sas,
Niuserre (%ollo#ed the polic o% "arring so"e o% his daughters to his top o%%icials to $eep their
a"bitions at ba,( sas 12rta, (This is e5actl the "o"ent #hen the e"pire starts to brea$ do#n due to
rising e5penses and increasing independence o% po#er%ul %a"ilies,(
4t #as also a ti"e #hen Egpt!s $ings had run out o% roo" at the roal %unerar co"ple5 on the Giza
plateau, the site o% the grand pra"ids o% the %ourth dnast, The #ere no# building s"aller, rougher
pra"ids %arther south,
Shepses$a%&'n$h!s to"b is the third phsician!s to"b to be %ound in the area, Other court o%%icials and
high&le)el priests #ere also laid to rest there, close to the rulers the once ser)ed,
Shepses$a%&'n$h ca"e %ro" an elite Egptian %a"il, 4n one section o% the to"b*surrounding a %eature
called a %alse door*he is identi%ied b titles indicating his ele)ated status, such as Priest o% 6e in the
Te"ples o% the Sun, Priest o%+hnu", and Priest o% 0agic,
The spacious di"ensions o% his to"b*roughl 78 %eet 917 "eters: b ;0 %eet 921 "eters:, and 13 %eet
97 "eters: high*are another indication o% his i"portance, The %unerar co"ple5 %eatures an open court
and eight burial cha"bers %or Shepses$a%&'n$h and his %a"il, 1eing a roal doctor, it see"s, could
ensure our %a"il!s success not <ust in this #orld but in the a%terli%e as #ell,
'busir is part o% the great roal ce"eter that stretches bet#een Giza andSa==ara in the desert #est o%
the Nile, 'lthough looting has increased there in the #a$e o% the 2011 re)olution, this disco)er sho#s
that so"e areas re"ain undisturbed b the recent tur"oil, The 3zech tea" ne5t plans to e5ca)ate
structures beneath the to"b to see #hat additional secrets the "a re)eal,