Egyptian Antiquities Minister, Khaled al-Anany, announced Saturday the discovery of an "exceptionally well-preserved" tomb belonging to a Fifth Dynasty royal priest at Saqqara Necropolis near Giza's pyramids.
"The Old Kingdom tomb is well preserved and the walls are decorated with colored scenes depicting the owner of the tomb with his mother, wife and family as well as a number of niches with large colored statues of the deceased and his family," the minister told Xinhua.
Relief statues are seen at the recently uncovered tomb of the Priest royal Purification during the reign of King Nefer Ir-Ka-Re, named "Wahtye", at the site of the step pyramid of Saqqara, in Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. [Photo: AP/Amr Nabil]
The Old Kingdom is the period in the third millennium between 2686-2181 B.C., which is also known as the "Age of the Pyramids."
The minister revealed that the discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission, adding that the tomb belongs to a royal purification priest named "Wahtye" from the reign of King Nefer Ir-Ka-Re.
For his part, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the head of the excavation mission, said that the mission was able to reach the facade of the tomb during its second excavation season in November, but was not able to enter it then as the doors were sealed.
"Excavations continued, and after removing the debris from the tomb's facade, a lintel on top of the tomb's door was revealed, inscribed with three hieroglyphic lines: the name and different titles of the owner, who was the royal purification priest, the supervisor of King Nefer-Ir-Ka-Re and the inspector of the holy boat," Waziri explained.
The Egyptian official added the tomb's walls have several colored inscriptions showing the name of the wife of the tomb's owner, Weret Ptah, and many scenes featuring the deceased with his mother Merit Meen and his family.
There are also scenes depicting the fabrication of pottery and wine, making religious offering, musical performances, the manufacturing of the funerary furniture and hunting.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, speaks inside a recently uncovered tomb of the Priest royal Purification during the reign of King Nefer Ir-Ka-Re, named "Wahtye.", at the site of the step pyramid of Saqqara, in Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018. [Photo: AP/Amr Nabil]
The team found 18 niches displaying 24 large colored statues carved in rock and depicting the owner of the tomb and his family.
Meanwhile, the lower part of the tomb contains 26 small niches with 31 statues of a yet unidentified person standing, or in the seated scribe position.
"This statue might be of the deceased or a member of his family," Waziri said.
Waziri said that the tomb contains five burial shafts, all of which will be excavated, in addition to two false doors, one belonging to the deceased and the second to his mother.
Egypt, one of the most ancient civilizations, has been working hard to preserve its archaeological heritage and discover the secrets of its ancient antiquities in a bid to revive the country's ailing tourism sector.
Tourism sector has suffered an acute recession over the past few years due to political turmoil and relevant security issues.