3,000-year-old royal tomb discovered in Egypt

Archaeologists cleaning the forecourt of a high official’s tomb in Egypt poked through a hole and discovered another tomb behind it — one that was built for a man more than three millennia ago.

The team, led by Egyptology professor Jiro Kondo of Waseda University in Tokyo, was cleaning up the tomb of Userhat, a high official under Amenhotep III, the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty, when they discovered the hole. Beyond it lay the transverse hall of a previously unknown tomb built for a royal scribe named Khonsu.

A frieze pattern near the ceiling is typical of the Ramesside period, around 1200 B.C.

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The magnificently decorated T-shaped tomb runs 15 feet long from east to west and 18 feet from north to south. A carved picture on the wall of the entrance area shows four baboons worshipping the solar boat of the god Ra-Atum. Next to these images, hieroglyphics describe Khonsu as a “true renowned scribe.”

On another wall, Khonsu and his wife, with two ram-headed deities in the background, are shown worshipping the gods Osiris and Isis, who also are depicted in a seated position on another wall.

The discovery raises hopes that more unknown tombs may be found in the Luxor area of Egypt, according to a report on Waseda’s website.

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The Waseda University Institute of Egyptology was granted permission to begin excavating in the area in 1971. It continues to conduct excavations every year from its base in Luxor.