Egypt unearths 5 ancient tombs south of Cairo
Egypt adds five tombs to its archaeological collection, and the new artifacts could make an appearance at the museum set to open later this year.
Egypt unearthed Saturday five ancient Pharaonic tombs at Saqqara, a necropolis south of Cairo, marking the latest discovery in a series of prominent discoveries of artifacts and tombs that date back millennia in the area.
Saqqara is among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. It is a large-scale necropolis of ancient Egypt's capital, Memphis, and it is home to more than a dozen pyramids, animal burial sites, and ancient Coptic Christian monasteries.
Local archaeologists found the tombs northeast of the pyramid of King Merenre I, who ruled Egypt some four millennia ago, around 2270 BC.
The five tombs belonged to senior royal officials, and are all in good condition, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities chair Mostafa Waziri said.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said one of the royal officials found in the newly-discovered tombs was named Iry, and his tomb contained a limestone sarcophagus in addition to colorful decorations.
The other two tombs have been home to members of the royal court for some 4,000 years, among which were a "steward of the royal house" and a priestess who was "responsible for the king's beautification."
The latest discovery in Saqqara is the first in over a year when archaeologists found ancient treasures in the necropolis, including more than 50 wooden sarcophagi dating to the 16th-11th centuries BC, the period of the New Kingdom.
The discovery was praised by Egyptologists; famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass said it "rewrites history" as it changed many theories proposed about that time period.
Cairo has been hoping to inaugurate the new Grand Egyptian Museum near the Giza plateau in a few months after authorities were forced to delay the opening several times due to various circumstances.
Egypt has been hoping that the new museum, with the help of various archaeological discoveries made in recent years, would help re-kick off the country's tourism sector, which is vital for the economy as it makes for one of the most important sources of national income, especially that it has long been taking blows since the 2011 uprising and the COVID-19 pandemic.