Archaeologists in Egypt Discover 4,400-Year-Old Tomb


An Egyptian tomb believed to belong to a high-ranking priestess was unveiled by government officials on Saturday.

Mohamed El-Shahed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb near Cairo that contains rare wall paintings and is believed to belong to a high-ranking Egyptian priestess, government officials said on Saturday.

The tomb is thought to be that of a priestess named Hetpet, Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said at the archaeological site, near the Giza pyramids, according to a video recorded by Agence France-Presse.

Officials unveiled the discovery to reporters on Saturday. The Egyptian authorities have hoped that a surge in discoveries will attract more tourists to the country.

“The tomb is in very good condition,” Dr. Waziri said. “There are colored depictions of traditional scenes: animals grazing, fishing, bird-catching, offerings, sacrifice, soldiers and fruit-gathering.”

Hetpet was a priestess for Hathor, a goddess depicted as a cow and associated with fertility, motherhood and love. The priestess is believed to have been close to ancient Egyptian royals of the Fifth Dynasty.

Scenes on the tomb’s walls show Hetpet hunting and fishing. The walls also included images of dancing and musical performances, as well as monkeys, which were domestic pets at the time, Khaled el-Enany, the Egyptian antiquities minister, told reporters at the site of the tomb, which is from about 2,400 B.C.

Hetpet was a “high official” who had a “strong link” to the royal palace, he added.

Mr. Enany said the find represented the first discovery of the year. Excavation will continue on the site.

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