Egypt discovers interior of ancient tomb at Saqqara necropolis near Giza pyramids

Undated photo shows drawings on walls of an ancient tomb at Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo, Egypt. An archeological mission from Cairo University unveiled the interior of a tomb at Saqqara necropolis near the three Pyramids of Giza, south of the capital Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement on Saturday. (Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/Handout via Xinhua)
Undated photo shows drawings on walls of an ancient tomb at Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo, Egypt. (Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/Handout via Xinhua)

An archeological mission from Cairo University unveiled the interior of a tomb at Saqqara necropolis near the three Pyramids of Giza, south of the capital Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said in a statement on Saturday.

The tomb belonged to Ptahemwia (Ptah Em-Wia), an official who served under King Ramses II in the 19th Dynasty around 3,300 years ago, according to the statement.

“The importance of discovering this tomb is due to the positions held by its owner, who was a royal scribe, head of the treasury, chief overseer of the cattle and also in charge of divine offerings at the temple of Ramses II (Ramesseum) in Thebes (in Upper Egypt),” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The excavations of Cairo University’s Faculty of Archaeology at Saqqara necropolis started in the 1970s and the actual search for royal tombs began in the 1980s, which led to the discovery of several tombs from the Ramesside Period, according to Ahmed Ragab, dean of the faculty.

But the current mission, led by archeology professor Ola el-Aguizy, has been working in the site since 2005 and has recently unveiled the entrance and interior of Ptahemwia’s tomb.

“What has been discovered of the tomb is its entrance built of stone carved with reliefs showing the owner of the tomb. The entrance leads to a hall whose walls have drawings painted and colored on a layer of plaster,” said el-Aguizy, head of the mission.

She added that the mission unearthed stone blocks with inscriptions and a number of Osirian columns, some standing in place and others buried by sand.