December 22, 2008

Archaeologists Uncover Two Tombs At Saqqara

Archaeologists reported on Monday the discovery of two ancient tombs at Saqqara belonging to ancient Egyptian court officials.

The pair of 4,300-year-old tombs were built for two high officials "“ one who was in charge of music and entertainment for pharaohs, and another for the quarries used to build the nearby pyramids.

"The discovery of the two tombs are the beginning of a big, large cemetery," said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief, on Monday.

One of the tombs belonged to Iya Maat, the supervisor of pyramid-building under the reign of Unas, Hawass said.

The second tomb housed the remains of Thanah, who was in charge of singers in the court of Unas.

Both tombs feature hieroglyphics at their entrances but the contents of the tombs have long since been stolen, Hawass said.

Previously archaeologists focused on just one side of the two nearby pyramids "” the Step Pyramid of King Djoser and that of Unas, the last king of the 5th Dynasty.

The find reported on Monday was discovered in the southwest portion side, which has been relatively untouched.

Hawass, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said excavations will continue and further finds should shed light on the 5th and 6th dynasties of the Old Kingdom.

"We are continuing our excavation and we are going to uncover more tombs in the area to explain the period of dynasty five and dynasty six," he said, adding that 70 percent of Egypt's ancient monuments remain buried under sand.

Archaeologists have been working at the site for six months.

The site has proven to be a plentiful area of new finds. In November, Hawass announced the discovery of a new pyramid at Saqqara, the 118th in Egypt, and the 12th to be found just in Saqqara.


Image Caption: View of the remains of Unas' pyramid at Saqqara (Wikipedia).


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