Tombs from court of Pharaoh Unas found

Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:58pm EST
 
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SAQQARA, Egypt (Reuters) - Egyptian archaeologists have found the tombs of two court officials, in charge of music and pyramid building, in a 4,000 year old cemetery from the reign of Pharaoh Unas.

The tombs were found buried in the sands south of Cairo and could shed light on the fifth and the sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom, said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief.

"We announce today a major important discovery at Saqqara, the discovery of two new tombs dating back to 4,300 years ago," he told reporters at the site on Monday.

One of the tombs belonged to Iya Maat, the supervisor of pyramid-building under the reign of Unas, Hawass said.

Iya Maat organized the acquisition of granite and limestone from Aswan and other materials from the Western Desert.

The second tomb housed the remains of Thanah, who was in charge of singers in the court of Unas.

Both tombs feature hieroglyphics at their entrances but the contents of the tombs have long since been stolen, Hawass said.

The entrance of Thanah's tomb shows carved images of her smelling lotus flowers.

"The discovery of the tombs are the beginning of a big, large cemetery," Hawass said.   Continued...

 
<p>Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass speaks to the media about restoration work at the site of a recently discovered tomb in Saqqara December 22, 2008. Egyptian archaeologists have found the tombs of two court officials, in charge of music and pyramid building, in a 4,000 year old cemetery from the reign of Pharaoh Unas. The tombs were found buried in the sands south of Cairo and could shed light on the fifth and the sixth dynasties of the Old Kingdom, said Hawass. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih</p>