An Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered five tombs decorated with wall paintings belonging to high officials and priests of the pharaonic Old Kingdom (3100-2125 BC) in the Saqqara necropolisa few kilometers south of Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced on Saturday.
In the tombs, in addition to some colorful paintings in a fairly good state of preservation, a sarcophagus and other archaeological pieces were also found, The Ministry detailed in a statement.
One of them, belonging to an important official named “Eni”, consists of a well that communicates with a burial chamber decorated with funerary scenes, such as offering tables, the facade of a palace and oil vessels, and still retains a huge limestone sarcophagusdetailed the note.
Another is believed to be the wife of a high-ranking official and a third to a priestess who held various positions at court, such as overseer and purifier.
Another of the graves belonged to a woman who held titles such as sole worshiper of the pharaoh and priestess of the goddess Hathor.
The last tomb is located in a rectangular well about seven meters deep and corresponds to “Henu, steward of the royal house”, a high-ranking official in charge of supervising the royal palace and bearing the seals of Lower Egypt.
Saqqara, located about 30 kilometers south of Cairo, was one of the necropolises of the city of Memphis, the first capital of Ancient Egypt, and contains 13 pyramids, the most important being the stepped pyramid of Djoser, the first stone, built around from the year 2650 a. C., some eight decades before those of Giza. This monument, by the architect Imhotepis considered one of the oldest on the planet’s surface and is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The five graves were discovered northeast of the pyramid of King Merenre Iwho ruled Egypt around 2270 BC
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that Egyptian archaeologists began excavating the site in September. “The five tombs are well painted, well decorated. The excavations did not stop. We are planning to continue our excavations. We think we can find more graves in the area”, he told reporters at the site.
Since 2018, several important archaeological discoveries have been made, some of them by the same Egyptian mission responsible for the discovery of the five tombs, such as that of hundreds of sarcophagi decorated with their respective mummies in a good state of preservation carried out in 2020. These coffins belonging to high officials and priests of the XXVI dynasty (664-525 BC) were considered one of the 10 most important archaeological finds of that year in the world, which allowed “rewriting history” of this period.
The Egyptian authorities hope to inaugurate the “Grand Egyptian Museum” near the Giza Plateau in the coming months and are counting on these new discoveries to revive tourism, hard hit by the covid-19 pandemic. This sector, which employs two million people and generates more than 10% of GDP, has been at half mast since the Arab Spring of 2011,
(With information from AFP, AP, EFE and Reuters)
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