Archaeologists working near the pyramids of Giza have discovered an ancient Egyptian burial ground dating back to around 2500 BCE and hosting the tombs of high-ranking officials.
The remarkable find includes a limestone family tomb from Egypt’s fifth dynasty, a period spanning the 25th to the 24th century BCE, the country’s Ministry of Antiquities said while unveiling the site.
The tomb contains the mummies of two people: Behnui-Ka, who held seven titles during the period, including priest and judge; and Nwi, also known as the “chief of the great state” and the “purifier” of the pharaoh Khafre.
Archaeologists also found various artifacts elsewhere in the tomb, officials said, including a limestone statue of one of the men, his wife and their son.
Other parts of the burial site were used more extensively from around the seventh century BCE, they added.
This noteworthy discovery was made by an archaeological mission from Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquity, which had been dispatched to the Gabal El Haridi region about 220 miles (350 kilometers) south of Cairo.
A number of wooden coffins dating back to that era were found, with several featuring bright colors and elaborate decorations.
Some of the coffins also featured hieroglyphics on their lids and were found close to fragments from wooden masks.
The ministry is hopeful the new discoveries will help boost tourism to Giza, which was hit by the turmoil that followed the 2011 Arab Spring and has been slow to recover.
Many of the new Egyptian tombs unearthed at Gabal El Haridi were dug into the side of a local mountain. Some of the more elaborate tombs had one or more wells that had corridors leading to burial rooms.
Giza’s long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum has been built with this aim. Expected to open in mid-2020, the $1 billion museum will rehouse and restore some of the country’s most precious relics.