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See inside well-preserved 4,400-year-old tomb

A more than 4,000-year-old private tomb containing "exceptionally well-preserved" drawings has been discovered south of Cairo, according to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities.

Posted: Dec 17, 2018 2:08 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2018 2:11 PM

A more than 4,000-year-old private tomb containing "exceptionally well-preserved" drawings has been discovered south of Cairo, according to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities.

Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said the tomb had been discovered at the Saqqara archaeological site and was from the 5th dynasty of the pharaohs, which ruled roughly 4,400 years ago.

The tomb belonged to a royal purification priest known as "Wahtye," al-Anani said in a statement. Inscriptions suggested the priest had served during the reign of King Nefer-Ir-Ka-Re and was the king's supervisor and inspector of the holy boat.

Al-Anani said the tomb's walls were decorated with colored scenes depicting Wahtye with his mother, wife and family.

The head of the excavation mission, Mostafa Waziri, said other drawings showed wine and pottery making, musical performances, sailing, hunting and the manufacture of funeral furniture.

Waziri said his team had reached the tomb in November but that it had taken some time to enter as its doors were sealed.

Some 50 niches inside the tomb also contained colored statues carved in rock, including of a person standing or in the scribe position, Waziri said.

"This statue might belong to the deceased or a member of his family," he said.

The general director of the site, Sabry Farag, said the tomb was about 10 meters (33 feet) long and 3 meters (10 feet) wide, with a basement.

It also contained five burial shafts, Waziri said, which will be the subject of further excavations.

In November, the Antiquities Ministry announced that a mass cat cemetery and a collection of rare mummified scarab beetles were among seven tombs discovered at Saqqara.

Saqqara is also home to the famous Step Pyramid.

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