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Egyptian archaeologists unearth tomb of ancient high priest


Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a priest dating back more than 4,400 years in the pyramid complex of Saqqara south of the capital Cairo, authorities said Saturday.

Egyptian archaeologists unearth tomb of ancient high priest
Painted statues and wall reliefs in tomb of Wahtye [Credit: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters]
"Today we are announcing the last discovery of the year 2018, it's a new discovery, it's a private tomb," Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told an audience of invited guests including reporters.


"It is exceptionally well preserved, coloured, with sculpture inside. It belongs to a high official priest... (and) is more than 4,400 years old," he said.

The tomb belongs to "Wahtye", a high priest who served during the fifth dynasty reign of King Neferirkare, the antiquities ministry said.

Egyptian archaeologists unearth tomb of ancient high priest
Highly decorated rectangular gallery [Credit: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE]
Egyptian archaeologists unearth tomb of ancient high priest
Wall reliefs of workers and statue [Credit: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE]


Egyptian archaeologists unearth tomb of ancient high priest
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, points to small statues in niches
[Credit: Amr Nabil/AP]
Egyptian archaeologists unearth tomb of ancient high priest
Wall relief with Wahtye and his wife Nin Winit Ptah in the center 
[Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP]
Egyptian archaeologists unearth tomb of ancient high priest
The entrance to the tomb [Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP]
His tomb is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family, the ministry said in a statement.

It also contains more than a dozen niches and 24 colourful statues of the cleric and members of his family, it said.


In November archaeology officials announced the discovery in Saqqara of seven sarcophagi, some dating back more than 6,000 years, during excavation work started in April by the same archaeological mission. Three of those tombs contained mummified cats and scarabs.



The Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo is home to the famous Djoser pyramid, a more than 4,600-year-old construction which dominates the site and was Egypt's first stone monument.

The tomb, built by the master architect Imhotep for the Pharoah Djoser, stood 62 metres (203 feet) tall originally and is considered the oldest building in the world built entirely of stone.

Source: AFP [December 16, 2018]

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1 comment :

  1. THIS IS SO IMPRESSIVE, and appears to be unique in the corpus of excavated Egyptian tombs. That it was created in the Old Kingdom and does not reflect the formal aesthetic and architectural departures expected from the Late and Ptolemaic Periods is doubly impressive. A great discovery from a period when miniature mammoths still inhabited the Mediterranean islands north of Egypt. A great, great civilization that continues to hold wonderful surprises. It is interesting to note the pyramidal shape of the linen dress worn by one of the standing figures--perhaps the represents and emphasizes the importance of the Pyramid Cult at this juncture of Egyptian history and the priest's role in it.

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