SAQQARA, Egypt — Thieves led an Egyptian archaeological team to discover three tombs of dentists to the ancient kings, unveiled Sunday at the Saqqara pyramid complex south of Cairo.
"It seems for the first time that the ancient Egyptians made a cemetery to the dentist and they are buried in the shadow of the Step Pyramid," Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said as he toured the site.
About 4,200 years old, the tombs honor a chief dentist and two other dentists, who served the royal families. They show that the ancient Egyptians "cared about the treatment of their teeth," Hawass said.
He pointed out two hieroglyphs — an eye over a tusk, appearing frequently among the neat rows of symbols decorating the tombs' doors — that he said identify the men as dentists.
Thieves beat the archaeologists to the site of the new tombs, launching their own dig one summer night two months ago, before they were captured and jailed. "We have to thank the thieves," Hawass said."
More about the discovery: