Like the legendary curse of the mummy, ancient Egypt refuses to stay buried in the past. Every so often it comes back to life – in the 1920s with the discovery of King Tut’s tomb; in the 1970s with the global tour of those golden masks; and most recently with a flurry of astonishing discoveries using 21st-century archaeological techniques.
During the past year alone, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has announced discoveries including:
• A 4,400-year-old tomb at the Saqqara archaeological site
• Eight mummies from the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 BC) – many of them encased in vividly painted coffins – at the Dahshur necropolis near Giza
• A stone sphinx at Kom Ombo, a riverside temple near Aswan dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek
• A surprisingly sophisticated 4,500-year-old ramp network at the Hatnub alabaster quarry in the Eastern Desert that may help solve ongoing questions about how the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids
• A 3,200-year-old hunk of sheep and goat cheese in a tomb at Saqqara, the first-ever evidence that cheese was part of the ancient Egyptian diet
• A well-preserved female mummy – and around 1,000 ushabti statues representing servants who would attend to the deceased in the afterlife — in a 17th Dynasty tomb near the Valley of Kings
Egypt is also in the midst of a museum construction boom, including new collections scheduled to open soon in the Red Sea resort towns of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada that will give beachgoers a chance to browse ancient Egyptian artifacts without venturing to Cairo or Luxor.
Meanwhile, the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is nearly finished. After a series of delays, the world’s largest museum dedicated to a single civilization is now slated for a grand opening in mid-2020.
Located near the Giza pyramids on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, the museum will showcase more than 100,000 objects, including every single item found in Tutankhamun’s tomb, many of them never before on public display.
Pharaonic aficionados may have to wait a few more years for the GEM to open, but there’s still plenty of ancient Egypt that’s ready to view right now when you travel here: