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Egypt: Archaeologists uncover five ancient tombs decorated with paintings at cemetery near Cairo

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Archaeologists have discovered five ancient tombs decorated with well-preserved paintings at a cemetery in Egypt.

The tombs belong to senior officials from the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate period, which dates back to more than 4,000 years ago, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.

An Egyptian archaeologist speaks inside the tomb of Petty, who looked after the King's beautification, and the priest of Hathor
Image:
An Egyptian archaeologist speaks inside the tomb of Petty

Located near the pyramid of King Merenre I, in Saqqara, just outside the Egyptian capital Cairo, they also contained large stone coffins, wooden coffins and other artefacts including small statues and pottery.

Saqqara, which lies south of the Great Pyramids of Giza, has provided a vast array of archaeological discoveries over recent years.

Mostafa Waziri, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the five tombs were in good condition and appear to have belonged to senior officials including regional rulers and palace supervisors in ancient Egypt.

The five tombs were found at the Saqqara area, in Giza, Egypt
Image:
The five tombs were found at the Saqqara area, in Giza, Egypt

He said: “All of those five tombs are well-painted, well-decorated. Excavations did not stop.

“We are planning to continue our excavations. We believe that we can find more tombs in this area.”

The ministry of tourism and antiquities added one of the tombs belonged to a top official named Iry and contained a limestone sarcophagus and colourful decorations inside.

Mostafa Waziri shows a small statue at one of the recently discovered tombs
Image:
Mostafa Waziri shows a small statue at one of the recently discovered tombs

The other tombs belonged to members of the royal court, including a woman named Petty who was responsible for the king’s beautification and also the priest of Hathor.

Back in January 2021, Egypt unveiled more ancient treasures found at Saqqara, including more than 50 wooden sarcophagi dating back to the New Kingdom in the 16th to 11th centuries BC.

Later this year, the Egyptian authorities are planning to inaugurate the new Grand Egyptian Museum near the Giza plateau later after its opening was delayed due to the pandemic.

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