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Jan 07, 2014 08:53 AM EST

Pennsylvania Researchers Discover Tomb of Egypt’s First King Of 13th Dynasty


University of Pennsylvania researchers have discovered the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh King Sobekhotep I, in the southern archaeological site of Abydos in Middle Egypt, 500km south of Cairo. Sobekhotep I is believed to be first king of the 13th Dynasty (1781BC-1650BC).

Researchers found the 60-ton quartzite sarcophagus (the carved structure above the body receptacle is called a sarcophagus) of Sobekhotep I, last year, but was unable to identify its owner until last week.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Egypt's Antiquities Chief Minister said that its true owner was determined when the researchers found slab fragments bearing the name of the king. It also showed him sitting on a throne, Voice Of Russia reports.

"He is likely the first who ruled Egypt at the start of the 13th dynasty during the second intermediate period," Ibrahim said.

Ayman El-Damarani, a ministry official, said that this is a very significant discovery because not much of the pharaoh's rule and life is available. Since the tomb's discovery, El-Damarani expects some more details of Sobekhotep I "who ruled Egypt for four years and a half, the longest rule at this time."

So far, only 10 royal tombs (all at Dahshur, south of Cairo) from the 13th Dynasty have been discovered.

While Sobekhotep I's tomb is built from limestone, his burial chamber is made from red quartzite. The burial was originally covered by a pyramid. Besides the tomb and sarcophagus, the team also unearthed remnants of canopic jars (used to store internal body organs), funerary objects and the King's gold ornaments.

Once the excavations are complete, the Minister hopes on opening the site to the public.

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