Image: Egypt tomb artifact
An artifact from a recently discovered mud brick tomb dating back to the late fifth dynasty and early sixth dynasty which was found at the Teti necropolis located to the northern side of Teti pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt.
updated 2/19/2007 3:07:35 PM ET 2007-02-19T20:07:35

A mud brick tomb dating back more than 4,000 years has been discovered near Egypt's most ancient pyramid in the Saqqara complex south of Cairo, the country's top antiquities official announced Monday.

The tomb, which was found by an Egyptian-Australian mission, belonged to Ka-Hay, who kept divine records, and his wife, said Zahi Hawass, Egypt's antiquities chief. Excavators found five wooden statues depicting the tomb's owner and his wife in a niche at the tomb's forefront. Among the wooden figures was a unique double statue of a seated Ka-Hay and his wife, Hawass said.

The tomb, which also features two offering tables and a wooden false door, was found near the famous Step Pyramid of King Djoser — believed to be Egypt's oldest pyramid — in the necropolis of King Teti, a funerary area containing scores of burial chambers, false doors that ancient Egyptians said the souls of the dead would use to leave their tombs, and temples.

The necropolis where the mud brick tomb was found is built alongside the collapsed pyramid of Teti, who ruled during ancient Egypt's 6th dynasty, more than 4,300 years ago. The Ka-Hay tomb dates back to the late 5th or early 6th dynasty, Hawass said.

Saqqara, located about 12 miles south of Cairo, is one of Egypt's most popular tourist sites and hosts a collection of temples, tombs and funerary complexes.

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