October 20, 2020

Colorful 4,000-Year-Old Tomb Discovered By Archaeologists In Saqqara Of Egypt

The architectural and artistic feats of the ancient Egyptians never cease to amaze!

Recently the country’s Ministry of Antiquities, Khaled al-Enani, revealed a “new” well-preserved tomb decorated with inscriptions and colorful reliefs. The archeological discover dates back more than 4,000 years – yet the vibrant paint of the reliefs look almost as fresh as the day they were painted.

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The intricate tomb is said to belong to an official named Khuwy, a nobleman from the Fifth Dynasty, a period that spanned the 25th to the 24th century BCE. At the unveiling Minister al-Enani brought along 52 foreign ambassadors, cultural attachés, and well-known Egyptian actress Yosra, to inspect the vivid depictions.

Image credits: AFP

As CNN reports, the 4000-year-old tomb of a royal vizier has opened to the public for the first time since its discovery.

Mehu was a high-ranking advisor to King Titi of the sixth dynasty sometime around 2300 BCE. He was buried in Egypt’s Old Kingdom not far from modern-day Giza, home to the Great Pyramids and the Great Sphinx.

The walls of the tomb are decorated with well-preserved, brightly-colored paintings, which include everyday scenes like fishing and metalworking, as well as more fantastical images such as a crocodile marrying a turtle. Mehu’s son Meren Ra and his grandson Heteb Kha are also buried there.

Image credits: AFP

The site was discovered by Egyptologist Zaki Saad in 1940. By inviting members of public to explore the chambers, Egypt hopes to draw even more tourists to the region.

“He mentions the name of his mother almost everywhere here,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, pointing to the dozens of hieroglyphics, statues and drawings.

Photos and videos of the tomb, which is more than 4,000 years old, show its exceptional condition. Waziri said the find was “one of a kind in the last decades,” according to Reuters.

Image credits: AFP

The priest’s name is Wahtye, who served during Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty under King Neferirkare, according to Waziri. His tomb is about 33 feet long, 10 feet wide and 10 feet high, and was uncovered in the Saqqara region, which is south of Cairo. It contains two levels filled with dozens of statues and colorful drawings of the priest and his family.

Various drawings depict “the manufacturing of pottery and wine, making religious offering, musical performances, boats sailing, the manufacturing of the funerary furniture, and hunting,” according to Egypt Today. NPR reports the Saqqara site is part of a larger complex where archaeologists have discovered art and architecture that provide insight into the daily life in ancient Egypt.

Image credits: AFP

Many other ancient artifacts probably remain hidden in the tomb’s lower depths, Waziri said. He pointed toward a shaft that he believes contains a sarcophagus of the tomb’s owner, in addition to many other objects.

“We’re gonna start, the day after tomorrow, digging to reveal what kind of secrets this shaft is hiding,” he said. Further excavation is expected to begin Sunday.

Waziri said the tomb’s discovery was special because of its near-perfect condition. Its drawings were almost completely preserved, and the tomb itself had not been looted, he said, according to Reuters.

“The color is almost intact even though the tomb is almost 4,400 years old,” he said, according to Reuters. Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty ruled from about 2,500 B.C. to 2,350 B.C.

Image credits: AFP

You can take a look inside the tomb by watching the video below.

More photos of the tomb are below:

A view of the tomb’s wall. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
An archaeological worker stands inside the tomb. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
Statues inside the tomb of Wahtye. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
Statues inside the tomb of Wahtye. (Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE/REX)
The tomb of Wahtye dates to the reign of King Neferirkare. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
Statues inside the tomb of Wahtye. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
A statue inside the tomb of Wahtye. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters)
A view of the tomb’s entrance. (Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)
Archaeologists will continue to excavate Wahtye’s tomb and expect to make more discoveries soon, Waziri said.