CAIRO Belgian archaeologists have discovered
the intact tomb of an Egyptian courtier who lived about 4,000
years ago, Egypt's culture ministry said on Sunday.
The team from Leuven Catholic University accidentally found
the tomb, one of the best preserved of its time, while
excavating a later burial site at the Deir al-Barsha necropolis
near the Nile Valley town of Minya, south of Cairo.
The tomb belonged to Henu, an estate manager and
high-ranking official during the first intermediate period,
which lasted from 2181 to 2050 BC and was a time of political
chaos in ancient Egypt.
The archaeologists found Henu's mummy wrapped in linen in a
large wooden coffin and a sarcophagus decorated with
hieroglyphic texts addressed to the gods Anubis and Osiris.
The tomb contained well-preserved painted wooden statuettes
of workers making bricks, women making beer and pounding
cereal, and a model of a boat with rowers, a ministry statement
"The statuettes (are of) the best quality of their time.
They are characterized by realistic touches and unusual details
such as the dirty hands and feet of the brick makers," the
statement said, quoting Belgian team leader Harco Willems.
Minya is 225 km (140 miles) south of Cairo.