Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Egyptian Tombs

June 6, 2002

CAIRO (Reuters) – Archaeologists have discovered seven tombs of Pharaonic priests and officials dating back more than 3,000 years in the desert south of Cairo, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Antiquities Council said on Thursday.

Zahi Hawass told reporters at the site that the tombs, made from mud brick and limestone and buried in the sand, were from the New Kingdom period, which lasted from 1567 BC to 1085 BC.

The tombs were found near the ancient Saqqara pyramids that date back to the Old Kingdom from 2613 BC to 2181 BC.

“The tombs all are for officials who were in the government in the north of Egypt,” Hawass said at the site of the tombs, which were several meters (yard) long.

The tombs were designed with an entrance that led to a small court area, a burial chamber and a sanctuary or chapel area.

One belonged to a royal scribe called Djihouti-Mheb, whose name was inscribed on a stone tablet, and another belonged to Ptah-Mes, a priest to the god Ptah. The other tombs were for other court officials or priests. At one site, archaeologists discovered a pyramidian, a small pyramid-shaped block that would have been used to cap the tomb. A figure representing the man buried was carved into one side of the pyramidian, and his name was etched into another.

The archaeologists also uncovered part of the statue of a lion and other stone ornaments, as well as parts of an ancient wooden coffin.