CAIRO—In a discovery that has electrified the global archaeological community, an Egyptian digging team unearthed a grave Sunday reported to be over 25 years old. The grave, found in a lot near downtown Cairo, is one of the rarest of its kind, and should offer new insight into the lives of people who lived as far back as 1970.

After discovering the gravesite, excavators had to use heavy machinery to blast through the surprisingly durable metal sarcophagus which housed the body. Antiquities expert Gerald Tornquist (left) was unaware that such advanced metallurgy existed 25 years ago.

“The significance of this find is inestimable,” said Oxford’s Gerald Tornquist, one of the world’s leading authorities on late 20th century life and culture. “Our previous historical data is almost exclusively based on oral record, anecdotal evidence and detailed computer, video and written information. But to have something tangible from this era means we can now begin to understand it.”

The find comes on the heels of numerous false leads, including the discovery of tombs and burial chambers dating from 4,000 B.C.E.—an era already amply covered by past archaeological digs. While searching for gravesites from the latter half of the 20th century, archaeologists stumbled upon no fewer than eight older sites, many clogged with hard-to-dig-through solid gold, silver, rare jewels and gemstones.

But yesterday, by digging upwards through the intact burial chamber of a third-century Egyptian high priestess, the team of archaeologists was able to uncover the grave, which, based on on-site carbon dating testing, is estimated at either 24 or 25 years old.

“It was tricky going at first, because there were several sharp diamond amulets and golden chalices that we had to blast through to get at the grave,” archaeologist Massua Sa-dir said. “But once we got through the first chamber, there it was in its glory—a pristine coffin untouched by grave robbers or erosion through-out the course of history.”

Though experts are still trying to piece the clues together, it is believed that the body belonged to a male held in high esteem in his society. Though no slaves were found buried with him, the remnants of a garment made up of three pieces with a strange neck adorn--ment re-main-ed intact on the body. Accor-ding to the limited amount of information that exists about the people of the mid-to-late 20th century, this was customary garb utilized either for special oc-casions or by people who were very important in their society.

Diggers on site, after several painstaking hours of removing the sarcophagus from its earth-filled grave, also found a pair of “shoes” and, in near-perfect condition, a “watch,” or “watch” as it was called back then. These were im-me--di-ately ta-ken from the skeletal re-mains and brought to the lab at the Uni-versity of Cai-ro for further study.

Also taken to the lab was the sarcophagus, a six foot by two and half foot box made of synthetic woods and metals. The metallurgy used in its construction appears to be highly advanced despite its estimated 35 years of age.

Archaeologists remain hopeful that there are more bodies buried in the area, relying on ancient legend that people from this time period had mass grave “yards” where loved ones were buried all together. Until now, this notion had been dismissed as absurd.