Archaeologists discover 4,400-year old tomb outside Cairo

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A group of camels and horses stand idle in front of the Great Pyramids awaiting tourists in Giza, Egypt on March 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo

Archeologists have discovered a 4,400-year old tomb located just outside the Egyptian capital of Cairo, near the world-famous pyramids at the Giza plateau.

The tomb, which was unveiled to the media on Saturday, was found at Giza’s western necropolis which houses a number of tombs that dates back to the Old Kingdom. The large complex consists of ancient monuments, including the giant pyramids and the Sphinx.

Archeologists believe that the tomb belongs to a woman known as Hetpet, a priestess of the Egyptian goddess of fertility Athor. She is also believed to have had close ties to the ancient kings from Egypt’s 5th Dynasty.

The tomb is built from mud bricks that form walls, where various paintings can be found. The wall paintings are in very good condition, and they include illustrations depicting Hetpet observing various hunting and fishing scenes.

Other scenes depicted on the tomb wall include a monkey picking fruit, with another one showing a monkey dancing before an orchestra. During the time of pharaohs in Egypt, monkeys were commonly kept as domestic animals.

Hetpet is a known figure from ancient Egypt, with a number of artefacts belonging to her previously found near the site of her newly discovered tomb. The first fragments of her relics were discovered in the area back in 1909 and were moved to a museum in Germany.

The archaeological mission that made the discovery began excavating in the area in October. Various discoveries have been made near the site of Hetpet’s tomb since the19th century, but Mostafa al-Waziri, the head of the archaeological mission, believes that there is still more waiting to be found.

“This is a very promising area. We expect to find more,” Al-Waziri said. “We have removed between 250-300 cubic meters of layers of earth to find the tomb.”

He also added that “what we see above the earth’s surface in Egypt doesn’t exceed 40 percent of what the core holds.”