April 5, 2019 / 8:34 PM / 19 days ago

Finely painted Ptolemaic tomb unveiled in Egypt

SOHAG, Egypt (Reuters) - Archaeologists on Friday unveiled a well preserved and finely painted tomb thought to be from the early Ptolemaic period near the Egyptian town of Sohag.

Preserved wall paintings inside the newly discovered burial site, Tomb of Tutu, at al-Dayabat, Sohag, Egypt April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The tomb was built for a man named Tutu and his wife, and is one of seven discovered in the area last October, when authorities found smugglers digging illegally for artefacts, officials said.

Its painted walls depict funeral processions and images of the owner working in the fields, as well as his family genealogy written in hieroglyphics.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, described the burial chamber as a “beautiful, colourful tomb”.

“The tomb is made up of a central lobby, and a burial room with two stone coffins. The lobby is divided in two”, he said.

“It shows images of the owner of the burial room, Tutu, giving and receiving gifts before different gods and goddesses”.

“We see the same thing for his wife, Ta-Shirit-Iziz, with the difference that (we see) verses from a book, the book of the afterlife”, he added.

Two mummies, a woman aged between 35-50 and a boy aged 12-14, were on display outside the shallow burial chamber, in a desert area near the Nile about 390 km (242 miles) south of Cairo.

Around 50 mummified animals, including mice and falcons, were also recovered from the tomb.

Ptolemaic rule spanned about three centuries until the Roman conquest in 30 B.C.

Egypt’s ancient sites are a draw for tourists and authorities hope new finds can help boost the sector, which has been recovering after foreigners were scared off by the North African country’s 2011 popular uprising and the turmoil and insecurity that followed.

Writing by Aidan Lewis, editing by G Crosse

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