The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced its most recent discovery of a preserved double graveyard containing the remains of a man, his wife, and mummified animals, including cats and mice.
Scientists believe the discovery, which was unveiled Friday, is from the Ptolemaic period, which dates back more than 2,000 years. The tomb was found in the city of Akhmim about four miles from Sohag.
"It's one of the most exciting discoveries ever in the area," said Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The most impressive discovery was that of 50 animals and a human mummy. Eagles, falcons, ibex, cats and mice were all found mummified in the tomb.
According to the ministry, the entrance to the burial ground was discovered after the arrest of a gang trying to smuggle the artifacts out of the side of a hill. After an investigation, the site was passed on to Waziri and his team for archeological excavation.
The tomb is believed to belong to a high-ranking official named TuTu and his wife T-Cheret Isis. Perfectly preserved inscriptions cover the walls, including the names of the family members of the deceased. The colors that fill the two-room tomb have been remarkably preserved.
Excavators found two limestone jars with human burials, as well as a collection of stuffed animals that indicates the tomb was reused in later time periods, the ministry said.
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