Egypt has announced the discovery of a well-preserved tomb belonging to a royal priest from the Fifth Dynasty of the pharaohs, which ruled roughly 4,400 years ago.
The site of the tomb in Saqqara, just west of Cairo, is also home to the famed Step Pyramid. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said Saturday that drawings on the tomb's walls depicting the priest and his family were "exceptionally well-preserved."
The tomb also contains 45 statues carved in rock.
In recent years, Egypt has heavily promoted new archaeological finds to international media and diplomats in the hope of attracting more tourists. The vital tourism sector has suffered from the years of political turmoil and violence that followed a 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
One of a kind
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the find was "one of a kind in the last decades."
The priest's name was Wahtye, who served under King Neferirkare, the third king of the Fifth Dynasty, according to Waziri. Wahtye's tomb is about 33 feet long, 10 feet wide and 10 feet high and contains two levels filled with the statues and colorful drawings of the priest and his family.
Other drawings depict "the manufacturing of pottery and wine, making religious offerings, musical performances, boats sailing, the manufacturing of the funerary furniture, and hunting," according to Egypt Today.
Many other ancient artifacts probably remain hidden in the tomb's lower depths, Waziri said. He pointed toward a shaft that he believes contains a sarcophagus of the tomb's owner, in addition to many other objects. Authorities suggested that more objects of archaeological significance would be discovered once the excavation of five shafts begins.
The Associated Press, Washington Post and New York Times contributed to this story.