- (Photo: Reuters/Peter Andrews)
Archaeologists claim to have recovered a tomb near Cairo, Egypt, dating back to 1100 B.C., a find that excavators say adds a new "chapter to our knowledge" about the area.
The tomb was discovered by the Cairo University Faculty of Archaeology at the ancient burial ground of Saqqara, south of Cairo. Mohamed Ibrahim, minister of the country's Antiquities Ministry, told the Associated Press that the tomb belonged to Paser, a guard who protected the army archives and also served as the royal ambassador between ancient Egypt and foreign countries.
Ibrahim added to the AP that this discovery adds "a chapter to our knowledge about the history of Saqqara." The tomb reportedly contains very clear and detailed inscriptions telling of the guard's funeral procession and his future in the afterlife. One image in blue, red and yellow colors shows Paser's wife crying over her deceased husband, while another shows Paser's children offering gifts to the gods. A third relief shows Osiris, the god of the Egyptian underworld, presiding over Paser's funeral.
The tomb was reportedly discovered next to another tomb holding Ptahmes, the head of the army and the royal scribe. Ptahmes was from the same time period of 1100 B.C., and was discovered during the last excavation season in 2010.
According to Ahram Online, the large tomb consists of a portico entrance, a hallway and a main burial room, as well as three surrounding rooms serving as sanctuaries.
Ibrahim added to Ahram Online that the discovery of this new tomb will contribute to Egypt's tourism, as it is a unique architectural find that shows a combination of two tomb types: mastaba and rock hewn. The tomb also serves as an example of a New Kingdom tomb built after the 18th Dynasty.
"It's a [very] important discovery that add[s] more to Egypt's history and political status with its neighboring countries," the antiquities minister told Ahram Online.
Excavation efforts in Egypt have slowed since the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak and the Arab Spring of 2011 led to political and civil unrest, but important discoveries have still been made in the country's rich archaeological region.
In April, Spanish archaeologists claimed to have discovered one of the earliest images of Jesus Christ, painted on the wall of an underground structure near Oxyrhynchus in Upper Egypt. Among other inscriptions written in the Coptic language, archaeologists with the Catalan Egyptology Society said they discovered a "figure of a young man, with curly hair, dressed in a short tunic and with his hand raised as if giving a blessing." The image was printed on the inside of what is suspected to have been a home for priests.