Archaeologists in Egypt have recently made an astonishing discovery after they unearthed the resting place of a high priest in a tomb that has remained unexplored for the last 4,400 years. Mostafa Waziri, who works at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, has hailed the recent discovery of the high priest’s tomb as being “one of a kind in the last decades.”
The high priest’s tomb is located very close to Cairo and was discovered near a buried ridge in the Saqqara pyramid complex. Archaeologists have found it to be extravagantly decorated with numerous hieroglyphs and 24 extremely well-preserved statues of ancient Egyptian pharaohs, as the BBC reports. The high priest’s name is now known to be Wahtye, and bold paintings inside the tomb show this royal priest with different members of his family, including his wife and mother.
According to France 24, Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany allowed reporters to assemble around the high priest’s tomb and described the details surrounding this monumental discovery, noting that such a stunning new find in Egypt is certainly an appropriate conclusion to 2018.
“Today we are announcing the last discovery of the year 2018, it’s a new discovery, it’s a private tomb. It is exceptionally well preserved, colored, with sculpture inside. It belongs to a high official priest and is more than 4,400 years old.”
The high priest’s tomb in Egypt has been determined to have been constructed during the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, at the time of the reign of Neferirkare Kakai. After archaeologists carefully removed debris from the tomb, they discovered five shafts. As Reuters have reported, one of these shafts was explored and was found to have been empty. However, this still leaves four sealed shafts to visit, and Waziri believes that one of these in particular may hold a coffin or even a sarcophagus.
“I can imagine that all of the objects can be found in this area. This shaft should lead to a coffin or a sarcophagus of the owner of the tomb.”
Back in November, archaeologists also found seven sarcophagi in Saqqara which were found to be more than 6,000 years of age, with three of these holding scarabs and cats which had been mummified. The Saqqara necropolis is a very important historical region in Egypt and houses the stunning Djoser pyramid, which was constructed 4,600 years ago and stands at 203 feet tall.
While 14.7 million people are estimated to have visited Egypt before 2010, that number dropped drastically as some tourists feared visiting the country after dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011. The year 2017 saw 8.3 million visitors, a markedly lower number than before 2011, but this number has been on the upswing again with Egypt’s renewed stability and archaeologists are hoping to lure tourists back with the many new archaeological discoveries that continue to be made, including the most recent discovery of the high priest Wahtye’s tomb.
On Sunday, December 16, archaeologists will begin the process of excavating the high priest Wahyte’s tomb in Egypt and many more exciting discoveries will surely follow after this.