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7 New Kingdom tombs to be opened to public in Egypt

May 24, 2011 15:50

Newly opened tombs, excavated by Dutch team, include King Tutankhamen's treasurer, general, and butler.

Egypt Egyptology_311. (photo credit:Reuters)

Egypt's antiquities ministry on Monday opened seven New Kingdom tombs that were previously unavailable to the public. The tombs include the final resting place of King Tutankhamen's treasurer as well as a general, Horemheb, who would later become king.

Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass announced the opening of the South Saqqara tombs on his website on May 22. The tombs are located about 30 kilometers south of Cairo and near Djoser's Step Pyramid. The seven tombs are from New Kingdom, a period that lasted from the 16th century to 11th century B.C.

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The tomb of King Tut's treasurer, Maya, while unfinished, features images of Maya and his wife Merit. Maya helped Tutankhamen reopen temples in the then-capital Luxor, further south in Egypt, which had been abndoned during his father Akhenaton's rule for the site of Amarna. He helped Tutankhamen restore order in a country that had been disrupted by his father's drastic changes including the move of the capital and abolishing of the priestly order.

While Maya restored order at home, Tut's general Horemheb rebuilt the boy king's foreign affairs. While he built a tomb at the South Saqqara site, he would later become king and was therefore buried at the famous Valley of the Kings on Luxor's west bank.

While some of the tombs were discovered in the 1840s, none were fully explored until the 1970s. Currently, a team of Dutch researches from the Leiden University is in charge of the excavations and restorations at the site.
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