Tomb thought to be 4400 years old discovered in Egypt

A general view shows well-preserved and rare wall paintings inside the tomb of an Old Kingdom priestess discovered by Egyptian archaeologists on the Giza plateau on the southern outskirts of Cairo

4400 year-old tomb of top pharaoh official discovered in Egypt

In the past two years, Egypt has launched several archeological projects with the hope of discovering many treasures to revive its tourism industry which has been for hundreds of years one of the pillars of the Egyptian economy, but which suffered a lot from riots and the instability that characterized the country situation in the past years.

The tomb unveiled on Saturday likely belonged to a high ranking official known as Hetpet during the 5th Dynasty of pharaohs in ancient Egypt, the country's Antiquities Ministry announced.

Some portraits showed her in hunting and fishing scenes and receiving offerings from children, while others showcased people melting metals and dancing.

There are also wall paintings of monkeys, which were kept as domestic pets.

The new Grand Egyptian museum is expected to be opened later this year. Another scene shows a monkey dancing before an orchestra.

"This is a very promising area".

Mr Al Waziri believes Hetpet had another tomb in Giza's western necropolis and said excavation work is under way to find that one too. "We have removed between 250-300 cubic metres of layers of earth to find the tomb".

There are similar paintings that were found in other tombs, including the funerary chamber of "Jnoum Hetep II", of the Twelfth Dynasty discovered in Beni Hasan in the province of Minia, and in that of the "Ka Empire" in Saqara, south of Cairo. There are colored depictions of traditional scenes: "animals grazing, fishing, bird-catching, offerings, sacrifice, soldiers and fruit-gathering", Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters.

In a statement announcing the discovery, Egypt's Antiquities Ministry said the tomb's architecture and decorative style date back to the Fifth Dynasty during the period known as the Old Kingdom. Egypt's vital tourism sector has been hit hard by extremist attacks and political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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