Middle East

Egypt tomb: Saqqara 'one of a kind' discovery revealed

Journalists enter a newly-discovered tomb at the Saqqara necropolis, 30 kilometres south of the Egyptian capital Cairo Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Journalists were allowed into the newly-discovered tomb, which experts have called "exceptionally well-preserved"

Archaeologists in Egypt have made an exciting tomb discovery - the final resting place of a high priest, untouched for 4,400 years.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, described the find as "one of a kind in the last decades".

The tomb, found in the Saqqara pyramid complex near Cairo, is filled with colourful hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs. Decorative scenes show the owner, a royal priest named Wahtye, with his mother, wife and other relatives.

Archaeologists will start excavating the tomb on 16 December, and expect more discoveries to follow - including the owner's sarcophagus.

Here's what they've found already...

Coloured statues and hieroglyphs inside the tomb at Saqqara Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The private tomb is part of a vast, ancient necropolis in Saqqara - where the earliest known Egyptian pyramids are located
A view of the tomb's exterior, showing its entrance set into rising walls of stone Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The tomb was found in a buried ridge, which may help explain why it escaped looters
A wall covered in engraved hieroglyphs, including people, weighing scales, birds and what appears to be food Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The walls of the tomb are covered in hieroglyphs, the writing system of ancient Egypt
Four statues of people carved into the wall of the tomb Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The ancient Egyptians often carved sculptures into the walls of tombs and temples
Mustafa Abdo, chief of excavation, stands inside the newly-discovered tomb of Wahtye Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mustafa Abdo is the project's chief of excavation. The tomb is 10m (33 ft) long, 3m (9.8ft) wide, and a little under 3m high
Coloured statues in alcoves inside the tomb Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Priests were important people in ancient Egyptian society, as pleasing the gods was a top priority
A man takes photos of the well-preserved hieroglyphs inside the newly-discovered tomb of Wahtye Image copyright EPA
Image caption The tomb's colours have survived unusually well for almost 4,400 years, experts said
A statue is seen inside the newly-discovered tomb of Wahtye, which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The artefacts date from the Fifth Dynasty, which ruled Egypt from around 2,500 BC to 2,350
A view of coloured scenes depicting the owner of the tomb and his family Image copyright EPA
Image caption The coloured wall scenes depict the owner, a high priest, with his family
An Egyptian archaeological worker stands inside the newly-discovered tomb of "Wahtye", which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Archaeologists plan to explore the tomb further, and should find the priest's coffin soon
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Media captionThe 4,400-year-old tomb is filled with hieroglyphs and statues

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