CAIRO – Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry announced on Saturday the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb that belonged to a Fifth Dynasty royal priest and had been hidden under rolling desert foothills south of Cairo.
The tomb of Wahtye, a high priest who served during the reign of King Nefer Ir-Ka-Re (2483-2465 BCE), includes hieroglyphs and 24 statues of Wahtye and his family and reportedly has hidden shafts that may contain still-undiscovered archaeological treasures.
The tomb, which was discovered in the shadow of the Djoser Pyramid during an expedition launched in April, is “exceptionally well preserved and (colorful) with sculptures inside,” Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany said in a statement.
The tomb features vibrantly colored statues and interior wall carvings so intricate and well-maintained that observers are taken back millennia to a time when pharaohs ruled the desert kingdom and Egypt was the world’s only advanced civilization.
The secretary-general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities and head of the archaeological mission, Mostafa Waziri, said the tomb was discovered in November during an expedition at the Sacred Animal Necropolis in the Saqqara archaeological site.