By Euan Duguid – The Sunday Post

A SCOTTISH archaeologist has discovered what he believes  is the final resting place of a 5000-year-old lost mummy – widely regarded as the holy grail of Egypt. 

Egyptologist Ian Mathieson (right) , from Lauder in Berwickshire, has found two vast tombs under the desert sands that could hold the remains  of Imhotep, the architect of the Step Pyramid and one of the most important figures in ancient history.
 
Imhotep, who became revered as a god after his death,  was the builder, sculptor and architect of King Djoser of the Third Dynasty (2649-2575 BC). Archaeologists have long searched in vain for his tomb in the Saqqara burial ground.
 
This highly sensitive area, now engulfed in desert sand,  was once the great necropolis of Memphis -Egypt's main city for 2500 years  -and is believed to hold untold riches, which prompted Napoleon to send  an expedition in 1798.
 
Scanning technology
 
Ian, director of The Saqqara Geophysical Survey Project,  has led surveys in the region since 1990 using unobtrusive scanning technology  and now believes he's within touching distance of the most coveted treasure  of all.  He revealed, "Most of the archaeologists working  in Saqqara have been looking for Imhotep.
 
"We've now found two large tombs that fall right  within the area where we think he could be. The largest tomb is immense  – around 90 metres long by 50 wide, with walls more than five metres thick.
 
"Right next door is a second tomb, around 70 by 50 metres with very thick walls and a complicated internal structure which  could point to a courtyard or temple.
 
"They dwarf everything in the area – Imhotep may  have designed his own tomb to compare with the Step Pyramid he built. A  person of his standing could command the artisans and labour needed to  build such imposing structures.
 
"All the information points to this being the most  probable place he could be."
Although Ian's find was made last year he hasn't released  the information until now because he's had to publish his findings and  present them to the Supreme Council of Antiquities – the regulatory body  for any archaeological work in Egypt.

Mesmerising
 
Since 1990 Ian (80) has uncovered a host of mesmerising discoveries in the Saqqara area.
The work of the project, now sponsored by Glasgow Museums,  has revealed a large number of previously unidentified structures under the sand. Two years ago Ian used scanning equipment to locate a two-kilometre  section of the main ancient Egyptian ceremonial route know as the Serapeum Way that was lost beneath the sands. But this latest discovery could be the jewel in the crown  of an illustrious career.
Imhotep is the next best thing to the great discovery of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter in 1922, which sparked a worldwide media  frenzy and ignited interest in ancient Egypt.
Ian says the next step should be an excavation to look  for the lost mummy but that could take some time. "The official line is that there's an excavation  ban in the area for the next five years, primarily because it is so sensitive.  Also, as soon as work begins on a major discovery like this treasure hunters pour into the area to pillage the sites.
 
"At the moment the Egyptian authorities say they  simply don't have enough guards to look after these sites. But who knows?  These revelations could change their minds."