The Ministry of Antiquities announced on Saturday the discovery of eight 8 tombs, four of which belong to the Old Kingdom, while the three were reused in the New Kingdom, and the remaining one is still sealed without knowing the exact era it belongs to. The tombs were discovered by Egyptian archaeological mission, on the western side of Giza’s Saqqara necropolis.
The discovery was announced at the Saqaara necropolis near the seven tombs, with the attendance of 30 foreign ambassadors and cultural attaches of many embassies, and is also sponsored by Orascom Investment. Thousands of relics belonging to animals and Egyptian gods were also found inside the tombs.
Some of the tombs were used to bury the mummified cats, while one of them had the name of khufu-Imhat among its carved words at the beginning of it. The tomb belonged to a high servant of the Royal family of the late Fifth Dynasty and the beginning of Sixth Dynasty. Khufu-Imhat was the General Supervisor of the Royal buildings at that era.
The Minister of Antiquities, khaled Anany, said in a press conference that the tombs were full of mummified animals. Two hundred mummified cats were unearthed out of the seven tombs. Anany added that area is full of surprises and a lot discoveries that are yet to see the light.
“The discoveries of this area are far from over, and I believe Saqqara is going to surprise us with more for centuries if not decades,” he added.
The discoveries were found near the cliff of an area called the Bastet, Anany declared.
For his side, Moustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Higher Supreme Council of Antiquities said that the importance of this discovery lies in the scarab mummies found inside the tombs.
“We found two large boxes in one of the burials, one has three layers, with total of around 200 mummified scarabs, which is the first to be found in the whole world, while the other has mummified large male and female scarabs” he said.
He added that once they found the scarabs, they contacted several museums from all over the world which all assured that them that no mummified scarabs were ever discovered, “they all agreed that they had found empty mummification boxes, yet with no body inside,” he explained.
For entomologists, this is a treasure that would attract scientists from all over the world, he added.
Waziri stressed that this is the biggest find in the area so far. He also expressed his pride of finding this discovery by Egyptian hands. “We have over 250 foreign archaeological missions in Egypt, yet for such a discovery to see the light by the hand of one of the 25 Egyptian archaeological missions, that is something that calls for pride,” he asserted.
In the tombs of the ‘holy animals’ land, as Waziri describes it, the mission discovered hundreds of animal sarcophagus for cobras, cats, and crocodiles. The mission also found funerary equipment buried inside the tombs.
“Some of the found relics are statues for animals while others are mummies wrapped in their linen fabric,” Waziri explained.
Two days before announcing the discovery, while workers were preparing for the press conference, the mission came across another sealed cemetery whose era is yet unidentified. Waziri further stated that two huge discoveries were found in Upper Egypt, yet they are being prepared to be announced to the world soon.
The artefacts will be displayed at Imhotep Museum of Saqqara starting from 15 November for a month for free, before they are distributed across the museums depending on the need of each, with putting in plan the museums of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.
All photos taken by Asmaa Gamal