Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a priest decorated with hieroglyphs and statues dating back more than 4,400 years in a pyramid complex.
The private tomb belonging to ‘Wahtye’, a high priest who served during the fifth dynasty reign of King Neferirkare, was unearthed today in a buried ridge at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, south of the capital Cairo.
His brightly painted tomb is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family, the Egyptian antiquities ministry said.
It also contains more than a dozen niches and 24 colourful statues of the cleric and members of his family.
The tomb dates from the rule of Neferirkare Kakai, the third king of the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.
The 33 ft (ten metres) long, 9.8 ft (three metres) wide tomb has just under three metres high walls which are decorated with hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs.
The tomb was untouched and unlooted, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters at the site today.
He described the find as ‘one of a kind in the last decades’ as the tomb was unique due to the type of statues and its near perfect condition.
Archaeologists removed a last layer of debris from the tomb on Thursday and found five shafts inside.
The tomb has only partially been uncovered and officials expect more discoveries when archaeologists excavate the site further in coming months early next year and even as early as tomorrow.
One of the shafts was unsealed with nothing inside, but the other four were sealed.
Waziri was hopeful about one shaft in particular would reveal more secrets, adding: ‘I can imagine that all of the objects can be found in this area.