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Egypt announces the discovery of a high priest's 4,400-year-old tomb

Egypt announces the discovery of a high priest's 4,400-year-old tomb
Statues inside the newly discovered tomb of "Wahtye," a priest during the reign of King Neferirkare, in Saqqara, Egypt. (Khaled Elfiqi / EPA-EFE/REX)

Egypt has announced the discovery of a private tomb belonging to a senior official from the fifth dynasty of the pharaohs, which ruled roughly 4,400 years ago.

Antiquities Minister Khaled Anani announced the find at the site of the tomb in Saqqara, just south of Cairo, which is also home to the famous Step Pyramid.

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He said the “exceptionally well-preserved” tomb contained scores of statues of different sizes and colors. According to a report in The Telegraph, the ministry added that the tomb belongs to Wahtye, a high priest who served during the reign of King Neferirkare.

His tomb is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family, the Telegraph reported. It also contains more than a dozen niches and 24 colorful statues of the cleric and members of his family.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, described the find as "one of a kind in the last decades," according to BBC News.

In recent years, Egypt has heavily promoted new archaeological finds to international media and diplomats in the hope of attracting more visitors to the country. The vital tourism sector has suffered from the years of political turmoil since the 2011 uprising.

A view of a newly discovered tomb belonging to the high priest Wahtye at the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo.
A view of a newly discovered tomb belonging to the high priest Wahtye at the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo. (Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images)
A view inside the tomb of the high priest Wahtye at the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo.
A view inside the tomb of the high priest Wahtye at the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo. (Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images)
Colored scenes depict the high priest Wahtye and his family in the tomb in Saqqara, south of Cairo.
Colored scenes depict the high priest Wahtye and his family in the tomb in Saqqara, south of Cairo. (Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images)
The entrance to the newly discovered tomb of the high priest Wahtye at the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo.
The entrance to the newly discovered tomb of the high priest Wahtye at the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo. (Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images)
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, speaks Saturday inside the tomb of the high priest Wahtye at the site of the step pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, speaks Saturday inside the tomb of the high priest Wahtye at the site of the step pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt. (Amr Nabil / AP)
Guests enter the tomb of the high priest Wahtye at the Saqqara necropolis Saturday.
Guests enter the tomb of the high priest Wahtye at the Saqqara necropolis Saturday. (Khaled Desouki / AFP/Getty Images)
A policeman secures the desert historical site in Saqqara, Egypt.
A policeman secures the desert historical site in Saqqara, Egypt. (Amr Nabil / AP)
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