Egypt’s antiquities minister announced on Friday the discovery of a princess’s tomb dating from the fifth dynasty — around 2500 BC, or more than a thousand years before Tutankhamun — in the Abu Sir region south of Cairo.
“We have discovered the antechamber to Princess Shert Nebti’s tomb which contains four limestone pillars,” Mohamed Ibrahim said.
The pillars “have hieroglyphic inscriptions giving the princess’s name and her titles, which include ‘the daughter of the king Men Salbo and his lover venerated before God the all-powerful,” he added.
Ibrahim said that the Czech Institute of Egyptology’s mission, funded by the Charles University of Prague and directed by Miroslav Bartas, had made the discovery.
“The discovery of this tomb marks the beginning of a new era in the history of the sepulchres at Abu Sir and Saqqara,” Ibrahim said.
The Czech team also excavated a corridor in the southeast of the antechamber, which leads off to four other tombs, two of which have already been discovered separately.
The two tombs belonged to high-ranking officials including a “grand upholder of the law” and an “inspector of the servants of the palace,” according to their inscriptions. They date from the fifth pharaonic dynasty.
The discoveries have all been made during the excavation season, which began in October, said Usama al-Shini, director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities for Giza.
The corridor contains four limestone sarcophagi that contain statuettes of a man, a man accompanied by his son, and two men with a woman.