In the necropolis of Memphis, capital of the Old Kingdom of the Pharaohs, five decorated and well-preserved tombs belonging to high royal officials were recently unveiled, in Saqqara, Egypt.
This discovery of burials of high dignitaries of the Old Kingdom dating between 4,700 and 4,000 years was made public on March 19, on the site of Saqqara, by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
This official announcement was made in particular via the broadcast of a video on social networks.
Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery of five 4000-year-old tombs south of Saqqara. pic.twitter.com/p2oMxaI3W3
— مشاريع مصر Egypt (@EgyProjects) March 17, 2022
Footage in this video shows burial shafts leading to tombs whose walls are adorned with hieroglyphic inscriptions and decorated with funerary scenes populated by sacred animals and objects used in the afterlife by the ancient Egyptians.
Pharaonic tombs of high dignitaries
These five tombs were unearthed by Egyptian archaeologists on the site of Saqqara, located about thirty kilometers south of Cairo. Located northeast of the pyramid of King Merenre I who reigned over Egypt around 2270 BC, they contained the remains of senior officials.
“The tombs were intended for high officials, including regional leaders or palace supervisors in ancient Egypt,” Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters at the site when it was announced. official discovery.
© Khaled DESOUKI / AFP
“These five tombs are all well painted and well decorated. Started in September, the excavations did not stop. We plan to extend them because we believe that we can still find other graves in this area,” he added.
© Sayed HASSAN / AP
“In the vault of one of the high officials, named Iry, the excavations unearthed a limestone sarcophagus and colorful decorations depicting funerary scenes with offering tables, the seven oils and the facade of a palace said Mostafa Waziri.
© Sayed HASSAN / AP
“Three other tombs, six meters deep, belong to two women, one of whom was solely responsible for the king’s beauty, and to the priest Pepi Nefhany. The last dedicated to Henu, steward of the royal house, sinks seven meters deep, ”he said.
Saqqara, a major archaeological site
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, the site of Saqqara is a vast and sprawling necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis which includes the famous pyramids of Giza but also the step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser, the first of the pharaonic era. This funerary monument built by the architect Imhotep around 2,700 BC is considered to be one of the oldest on the surface of the globe.
In January 2021, the Saqqara necropolis had already unveiled new archaeological treasures, namely fifty New Kingdom sarcophagi over 3,000 years old, allowing the history of this period to be rewritten according to Egyptian experts.
Soon, Egypt hopes to inaugurate, near the Giza plateau, the “Great Egyptian Museum”, counting on these new discoveries to revive tourism, a sector totally devastated and moribund since the Covid-19 pandemic.