Egypt discovers 250 tombs, 4,200 years old

The graves "include some with a well or several burial wells and other cemeteries with a sloping corridor that ends with a burial room," the ministry said in a statement.

This combination of handout pictures provided by Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities on 11 May 2021 shows a view of newly discovered tombs in the southern province of Sohag, dating back about 4,200 years. Picture: AFP

CAIRO - Egyptian archaeologists have discovered around 250 tombs in the country's southern province of Sohag, dating back about 4,200 years, the antiquities ministry said on Tuesday.

The graves "include some with a well or several burial wells and other cemeteries with a sloping corridor that ends with a burial room," the ministry said in a statement.

They range in age "from the end of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Ptolemaic period," it added.

The Old Kingdom, spanning around 500 years, ended in 2200 BC, while Egypt's Ptolemaic dynasty lasted for 300 years an ended with the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC.

Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said one tomb dating back to the Old Kingdom had faint remains of hieroglyphic inscriptions and a chamber for "sacrifices".

Mohamed Abdel-Badie, a senior antiquities official who led the excavation, said pottery and votive objects had also been found, dedicated to ancient Egyptian deities.

Small alabaster vessels, animal and human bones as well as limestone remnants that could be "funerary plates... dating back to the Sixth Dynasty" were also discovered, Abdel-Badie said.

Cairo has announced several major new archaeological discoveries in recent months, hoping to revive a vital tourism sector battered by a 2011 uprising, ongoing political unrest, jihadist attacks and the coronavirus pandemic.

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