Just when you think we’ve learned all we can about the ancient Egyptians, another archeological discovery sheds new light on the powerful civilization. Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities just announced the discovery of the tomb of an ancient priestess, one covered with rare and remarkably well-preserved wall paintings. Discovered by Egyptian archeologists during the excavations of Giza’s western cemetery, the tomb dates from the Old Kingdom’s Fifth Dynasty (2465-2323 BC).
The 4,400-year-old Egyptian tomb belonged to a priestess named Hetpet, according to the Ministry. As a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, she assisted women in childbirth and would have been a top official at the royal palace at the end of the Fifth Dynasty. “The tomb has very distinguished wall paintings in a very good conservation condition depicting Hetpet standing in different hunting and fishing scenes or sitting before a large offering table receiving offerings from her children,” the Ministry of Antiquities announced on Facebook.
Additional scenes include music and dance performances, as well as imagery of leather and metal workers. Interestingly, monkeys, which were domestic animals at the time, are featured in two scenes. “The first scene shows a monkey reaping fruits while the second displays a monkey dancing in front of an orchestra.” Though rare, it’s not unheard of to see monkeys included in the artwork, with similar scenes appearing in the 12th Dynasty tomb of “Khnoum Hetep II” in Beni Hassan and the Old Kingdom tomb of “Ka-Iber” in Saqqara.
While archeologists first discovered the western cemetery in 1842, this particular tomb had yet to be revealed. However, it’s not the first time Hetpet’s identity had come to the surface. “A German expedition had found in 1909 a collection of antiquities carrying this lady’s name, or a lady who has the same name, and these antiquities were moved to the Berlin museum at the time,” Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany shared. “And 109 years later, we find this tomb that carries Hetpet’s name.”
Archeologists will continue excavations in hopes that they can unearth other treasures.
Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities recently unearthed a 4,400-year-old tomb filled with well-preserved paintings from the Fifth Dynasty.