Archaeologists report they have discovered an ancient cemetery near the Giza pyramids in Egypt.
At the site, scientists found a fine limestone statue of one of the tomb’s owners, his wife and son from the Old Kingdom’s Fifth Dynasty (2465-2323 B.C.).
Several painted and decorated wooden anthropoid coffins, as well as wooden and clay funerary masks reveal the cemetery had been reused extensively in the Late Period (664-332 B.C.)
According to Egyptologists the cemetery houses burial shafts and tombs of top officials make this a very important historical site.
“The discovery of the pyramid-builders’ cemetery shows to the whole world that the pyramids were not built by slaves, but that their builders built their own tombs beside their king’s,” Zahi Hawass, a former antiquities minster said in an interview with Ahram Online.
According to Ahram Online, “the team discovered several tombs and burial shafts, with the oldest a limestone family tomb from the fifth dynasty (circa 2500 BC) which retains some inscriptions and artwork.
The tomb belongs to two people. The first is Behnui-Ka, whose name has not previously been found in the Giza Plateau. He has seven titles, among them the priest, the judge, the purifier of the kings Khafre, Userkaf and Niuserre; the priest of goddess Maat, and the elder judicial official in the court.
The second tomb owner, Nwi Who, had five titles, among them the chief of the great state, the overseer of the new settlements, and the purifier of Khafre.”
Egypt now hopes latest archaeological finds will increase tourism which suffered a major setback during the unrest that followed the 2011 uprising.