Egyptian tomb reveals its secrets after 4,400 years in ‘find of the decades’

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Guests enter a newly discovered tomb, belonging to the high priest ‘Wahtye,’ who served during the 5th dynasty reign of King Neferirkare (2500-2300 BC), at the Saqqara necropolis, 30 km from Cairo, on Saturday. (AFP)
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The well-preserved tomb is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family (AFP)
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Relief statues are seen at the recently uncovered tomb of the Priest royal Purification during the reign of King Nefer Ir-Ka-Re, named "Wahtye", at the site of the step pyramid of Saqqara, in Giza, Egypt. (AP)
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Egyptian archaeologists announced the discovery of the tomb of high priest "Wahtye" who served during the fifth dynasty reign of King Neferirkare (between 2500-2300 BC). (AFP)
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The well-preserved tomb is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family (AFP)
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The entrance of a newly-discovered tomb belonging to the high priest "Wahtye" who served during the fifth dynasty reign of King Neferirkare (between 2500-2300 BC), at the Saqqara necropolis, 30 kilometres south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Egyptian tomb reveals its secrets after 4,400 years in ‘find of the decades’

  • They expect to make more discoveries when they excavate those on Sunday
  • The priest’s tomb “is exceptionally well preserved, colored, with sculpture inside”

CAIRO: Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a priest dating back more than 4,400 years in the pyramid complex of Saqqara south of Cairo.

The tomb belongs to Wahtye, a high priest who served during the fifth-dynasty reign of King Neferirkare. It is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family.

It also contains more than a dozen niches and 24 statues of the priest and members of his family.

The priest’s tomb “is exceptionally well preserved, colored, with sculpture inside. It belongs to a high official priest,” Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany said.

The tomb was found in a buried ridge at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara. It was untouched and unlooted, said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. He described the find as “one of a kind in the last decades.”

Archaeologists removed a last layer of debris from the tomb on Thursday and found five shafts inside, Waziri said. 

They expect to make more discoveries when they excavate those on Sunday.

“I can imagine that all of the objects can be found in this area,” he said, pointing at one of the shafts. “This should lead to a coffin or a sarcophagus of the owner of the tomb.”

The fifth dynasty ruled Egypt from about 2,500 to 2,350 BC, not long after the great pyramid of Giza was built. Saqqara was the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than two millennia.


Israel strikes Hamas post after gunfire at troops

Updated 22 January 2019
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Israel strikes Hamas post after gunfire at troops

  • An informal truce between Hamas and Israel has brought relative calm to the border in recent weeks
  • Hamas is labelled a terrorist organization by the US and the EU, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer

GAZA CITY, Palestinian territories: An Israeli tank shelled a Hamas site in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday after gunfire at soldiers near the border fence, the army said.
There were no reports of injuries in either incident. Hamas said two of its military wing’s observation posts had been hit east of Beit Hanoun.
An informal truce between Hamas and Israel has brought relative calm to the border in recent weeks.
But there have been warnings of another escalation since Israel reportedly held up the latest cash transfer from Gulf state Qatar to Gaza, set to take place under the truce.
The payments are controversial in Israel, where they have sparked opposition from right-wing activists and politicians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is campaigning for re-election in April 9 polls.
Qatar’s ambassador to Gaza said Monday that the $15 million (13 million euros) in cash, to pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants in the enclave, is expected to be delivered via Israel this week.
Israel’s government has not commented. Its permission is required since the cash must be delivered via Israeli territory.
Hamas is labelled a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, and banks are hesitant to make the transfer.
The payment would be the third of six planned tranches, totalling $90 million, in connection with the truce.
Israel has also allowed deliveries of Qatari-financed fuel to the blockaded enclave to help ease a severe electricity shortage.
Mass protests and clashes erupted on the Gaza-Israel border in March last year.
The weekly protests have been calling for Palestinian refugees in Gaza to be able to return to their former homes now inside Israel.
Israel accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.
At least 243 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March, the majority during protests and clashes. Others have died in airstrikes or shelling.
Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during a botched special forces operation inside Gaza.
Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, have fought three wars since 2008.