Archeologists find ancient tomb of temple guard near Giza Pyramids

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(CAIRO) — A 3,200-year-old tomb belonging to Panehsy, the guard of the temple of Egyptian deity Amun, has been uncovered in Saqqara necropolis, south of the Egyptian capital Cairo, the tourism ministry said on Wednesday.

The temple-shaped tomb, dating back to ancient Egypt’s 19th dynasty (1292-1189 BC), was discovered by a team of Dutch and Italian archeologists.

Saqqara, one of the most important burial sites of ancient Egypt, has seen a series of archaeological discoveries in recent years.

Egypt aims to show off newly discovered artifacts as it seeks to revive its vital tourism industry, a key source of foreign currency and jobs for the struggling economy. The country attracted 11.7 million visitors in 2022.

“The new find sheds light on the development of Saqqara necropolis during the Ramesside era, and lifts the curtain on new individuals not yet known in historical sources,” said Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The tomb resembles a freestanding temple with an entrance, an inner courtyard of columned porticoes, a shaft leading to underground burial chambers, and three chapels. It borders the tomb of Maya, a high-ranking official during the reign of ancient Egypt’s boy-king Tutankhamun.

Inside the tomb, archeologists found a stela picturing Panehsy and his wife Baia, who was the singer of Amun, in front of an offering table, as well as several other drawings of priests and religious offerings.

The team also unearthed four small chapels during excavation work in the area, two of which bear well-preserved reliefs of funeral scenes and drawings of the resurrection of a mummy to live in the afterlife, officials said.

The team includes archeologists from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden (RMO), whose mission has been excavating the area since 1975, and the Egyptian Museum in Turin (Museo Egizio), which joined the excavation project as a main partner in 2015.

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