Unas was a pharaoh and the ninth and last ruler of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt during the Old Kingdom. Unas built a pyramid in the city of Saqqara, which is the smallest of the royal buildings that still stand today. However, it is what archaeologists discovered inside his tomb that surprised them.
Salima Ikram, a professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo, took Morgan Freeman to see the monument during his Netflix series “The Story of God”.
She said in 2017: “Here we are at Sakkara – that’s the step pyramid of King Djoser and it is one of the first pyramids, actually the first pyramid ever to be built.
“This entire site is a big cemetery, so the idea that people now have about rebirth and resurrection all started here about 5,000 years ago.
“This is a causeway and we’re going towards the temple of Unas.
“It was built about 4,000 years ago, it doesn’t look like much, but it is what is inside that counts.”
The pair travelled down a small corridor, before reaching a large room completely covered in inscriptions, where they both gasped when they walked inside.
Dr Ikram added: “Fabulous, isn’t it?
“We found out these are actually magic, or religious spells, that Unas had inscribed.
“When he wanted to go from this world to the next, he had to recite all of these things and they give him directions if he passed anything dangerous.
“There’s one here that says ‘rise up, Unas, and you will know the magic to be triumphant over the demons.’
“And over here it says ‘Unas will go forward and his soul will live forever.’
“This one would give him dominance over any demon-faced creatures.”
Little is known about the life of Unas, but it is believed he had several daughters and two sons.
The pharaoh reigned for 15 to 340 years until the mid-24th century BC succeeding Djedkare Isesi, who might have been his father.
The discovery comes after archaeologists were puzzled by another 4,000-year-old inscription.
They were discovered at Wadi el-Hudi, a valley in the deserts of Southern Egypt, which was used for extracting amethyst.
The violet-coloured crystal was popular among Egyptian pharaohs during the age of the Middle Kingdom.
The excavation team also unearthed 14 inscriptions carved on stone tablets and 45 inscriptions written on pottery.
Analysis of the findings are under way and archaeologists believe they date back at least 3,900 years.
Some of the pieces are around 2,000-years-old – when the Roman Empire took over Egypt.
Kate Liszka, the director of the Wadi el-Hudi expedition, said: “The site is just so full of inscriptions behind every boulder and around every wall that they missed a lot of them.
“The site was popular because they [Egyptians] were bringing amethyst back and making it into jewellery and doling it out to their elite and their princesses.”