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4,200-year-old pharaonic tombs discovered in Egypt

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Cairo: In a “stunning” discovery, archaeologists have found compelling evidence of new pharaonic tombs behind a 4,200-year-old wall unearthed in Egypt.

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The two-metre high ancient encroachment wall has been found below a visitors’ pathway in the West Aswan cemetery at Qubbet el-Hawa, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities said, according to PTI.


The wall is thought to indicate the architectural support for the known tombs of the first upper terrace, including those of Harkhuf and Heqaib, who were governors of Elephantine Island during the Old Kingdom.

Owing to the landscape of Qubbet el-Hawa, the support wall helped to secure the hillside, and thus lower lying tombs, which were accessible by a causeway leading to a second terrace, according to the archaeological mission directed by Dr Martin Bommas of the University of Birmingham in the UK.

“The findings are dramatically altering our understanding of the funerary landscape in this area during the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period in 2278-2184 BC,” Carl Graves, a PhD student who worked alongside Bommas on the project, said.

“I don’t think anyone yet knows who the tombs might have belonged to,” Graves said. Nasr Salama, General Director of Aswan and Nubia Antiquities, described the discovery as “stunning” saying it is now only a matter of time until new tombs are uncovered within the important cemetery.

Eman Khalifa, director of the pottery project within the Qubbet el-Hawa Research Project Group (QHRP), told ‘Egypt Independent’ that the stone wall was dated by the pottery shreds embedded within the mortar used to build it. The crushed pieces include parts of carinated bowls, executed in a style typical of the reign of King Pepi II from the Sixth Dynasty (2278-2184 BCE), she said.