Archaeologists working near the pyramids of Giza in Egypt have discovered an ancient cemetery dating back thousands of years to around 2500 BCE and hosting the tombs of high-ranking officials.
Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said the discovery was made at the southeastern side of the Giza Plateau, where the pyramids are located.
The incredible find includes tombs and burial shafts from Egypt’s Old Kingdom period, which spanned 2686–2181 BC, and an even older limestone family tomb, which retains some of its inscriptions and scenes, from Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty, according to Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The limestone family tomb contains the mummies of two people: Behnui-Ka, who held seven titles during the Fifth Dynasty, including priest and judge; and Nwi, described as “chief of the great state” and the “purifier” of the pharaoh Khafre.
Khafre, who built the second of the three famous pyramids of Giza, is believed to have reigned for around 25 years.
Several artifacts, including a limestone statue of one of the men, his wife and their son, were also found in the tomb, officials said.
Other parts of the burial site were used more extensively in the Late Period, from around the seventh century BCE, according to Ashraf Mohi, Director General of Giza Plateau as archaeologists found a number of painted and elaborately decorated wooden anthropoid coffins dating back to that era.
Some of the coffins also featured hieroglyphics on their lids and were found close to fragments from wooden masks.
It has been a year of stunning discoveries for Egypt so far. Last month, archaeologists discovered a tomb cut into rock and containing dozens of mummies in the southern Egyptian province of Aswan. In March, Egyptian officials announced the incredible discovery of a well-preserved tomb of of a senior official from the Fifth Dynasty, named Khuwy.
The recent discoveries are being promoted by Egypt as the country looks to revive its flagging tourist industry.