In one of the recent archaeological discoveries, a new tomb was uncovered in the desert west of Cairo. The discovery was described as “one of a kind in the last decades” by Mostafa Waziri, Egyptian secretary-general of Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The tomb will provide clues into the lives of royal officials with further discoveries yet to be made. Going back to almost 4,400 years, the tomb was found buried 5 metres under the sand in what was once a vast royal cemetery in the Saqqara pyramid complex.
It is believed that the tomb’s owner once served King Neferirkare, who ruled during the Old Kingdom in the 5th dynasty. Surprisingly, the tomb were in remarkably good condition. Inside, hieroglyphs indicate the name and title of the deceased: Wahtye, who was the royal purification priest, royal supervisor, and inspector of the sacred boat.
Along with him, buried were his wife, Weret Ptah, and his mother, Merit Meen. Also inscribed on the walls were everyday scenes depicting hunting, sailing, and pottery-making.
Laid out as a rectangular gallery, spanning 10 metres long (running north to south) and 3 metres wide (running east to west), the walls are lined with 18 larger niches, each containing colorfully painted statues of pharaohs, the high priest himself, and his relatives.
Twenty-six smaller niches run along the wall near the floor, each containing unidentified figures, some standing and some sitting cross-legged.
Five shafts were found inside the tomb in all, one of which was already open, but empty, while the others are still closed. One is likely to contain the priest—exciting news to be sure.
“This shaft should lead to a coffin or a sarcophagus of the owner of the tomb,” Waziri said. Exploration of these closed chambers could begin as early as Sunday.