CAIRO, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany announced Saturday the discovery of seven pharaonic tombs in Saqqara Necropolis in Giza Province.
The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission during excavation works at the area located on the stony edge of King Userkaf pyramid complex in Saqqara Necropolis, al-Anany told Xinhua.
The minister explained that the mission has uncovered three plain New Kingdom tombs that had been used during the Late Period as necropolis for cats along with four other Old Kingdom tombs, the most important of which belongs to Khufu-Imhat, the overseer of the royal buildings in the royal palace.
He also said that the Egyptian mission selected such a site to excavate because “there was a high probability that a collection of Old Kingdom tombs for individual could be uncovered around the ramp of King Userkaf pyramid complex.”
A French mission previously excavated the eastern section of the site and uncovered a collection of Old and New Kingdoms tombs that were used during the Late Period as cats’ graves, he said.
The French mission has stopped all excavations on site since 2008 and devoted all its work to study document and restore some of the discovered tombs. However, all the works have completely stopped since 2013.
“This is the first of three upcoming new discoveries in other governorates in Upper Egypt to be announced before the end of 2018,” al-Anany said.
During the inauguration ceremony, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri announced that the Egyptian mission has succeeded to unearth the first ever mummies of scarabs to be unearthed in Memphis necropolis as two large mummies of scarabs have been found inside a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with vaulted lid decorated with three scarabs painted in black.
“Tens of cat mummies were also unearthed along with 100 wooden gilded statues of cats and a bronze one dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet,” Waziri revealed.
He added that a collection of wooden gilded statues depicting the physical features of a lion, a cow, and a falcon was also unearthed.
“Painted wooden sarcophagi of Cobras with mummies found inside them were also discovered along with two wooden sarcophagi of crocodiles,” Waziri explained.
Egypt, one of the most ancient civilizations, has been working hard to preserve its archaeological heritage and discover the secrets of its ancient antiquities in a bid to revive the country’s ailing tourism sector.
Tourism sector has suffered an acute recession over the past few years due to political turmoil and relevant security issues.