Five well-preserved ancient tombs were recently unearthed in Saqqara, an acropolis outside Cairo, according to a Reuters report.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities confirmed that the tombs are at least 4,000 years old, dating to the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period. The latter is a dark time in Egypt’s history, as the regime of the Old Kingdom broke down and monuments and artworks were destroyed. The newly-discovered tombs are one of the few surviving relics from the period.
The tombs, which were found near the pyramid of King Merenre I, belonged to some of the era’s top officials, including court advisors and priests. In addition to elaborately painted walls, the chambers contained over 20 sarcophagi, toys, wooden boats, masks, and more artifacts.
This most recent find comes just a few months after the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery of the tomb of a treasurer of New Kingdom pharaoh Ramses II, also at Saqqara.
The discovery also coincides with the government’s “Follow the Sun” campaign on social media, which celebrates Egypt’s archaeological heritage. The country relies heavily on the tourism industry, which has taken a hit over the past two years due to the global pandemic and more recently, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A large number Egypt’s tourists hail from Russia, Ukraine, and Poland.