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Skar Excavations, Step Pyramid, Saqqara

Skar: The Saqqara Physician

Nearly overlooked in the past months’ news, a fascinating discovery near the Saqqara pyramid complex: Archaeologists have discovered the oldest ancient Egyptian tomb belonging to a doctor in Saqqara near Cairo, which scholars hope will give them an insight on ancient medical practices.

Ayman Gamal,  Egyptian antiquities expert examines items

An Egyptian antiquities workers unearthed the first evidence of the tomb on November 6, 2001. Aarchaeologists have determined that the tomb belonged to a physician priest named Skar. Many of the artifacts found in the tomb are 4,200 years old, the scientists suspect. some of the most remarkable finds are the several bronze statues of Gods and Goddesses.

'`For the first time, a discovery has been made of a doctor's tomb dating back 4,200 years,'' said Zahi Hawass, antiquities chief in the Giza pyramids area. ``We found 30 surgical tools (inside the tomb) used by the ancient Egyptian doctor,'' he told Reuters at the site in Sakkara, near the Egyptian capital.

Hawass said the grave of Skar, the chief physician of one of Egypt's Fifth Dynasty rulers, contained bronze medical implements such as scalpels, needles and a type of spoon.

``Inside, this tomb has a number of beautiful scenes (on the walls) revealing the daily life (of the Fifth Dynasty) ... colored in beautiful colors that are special to the Sakkara area,'' he said.

Gods and Goddess statues from the Tomb of Skar Hawass said archaeologists also found an alabaster altar and 22 statues of different gods and goddesses inside the tomb.

Saqqara has long been believed to be the most likely site for the tomb of the fabled physician/architect and deity, Imhotep. The discovery of an obviously highly regarded physician in the same general vicinity will doubtless encourage excavations in the area.

Images Copyright 2001 Reuters Ltd. All rights reserved.  
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