Egypt opens ancient tomb of King Djoser after restoration

 Wednesday, September 15, 2021 

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Egypt on Tuesday showcased an ancient tomb structure of King Djoser following extensive restorations of the site.

It also publicized a sequence of recent archaeological finds over the past year to revive its key tourism sector.

The turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising hit this sector badly.

It also dealt a further blow by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Southern Tomb

The tomb belongs to the cemetery complex of the pharaoh who lived more than 4,500 years ago.

The structure, known as the Southern Tomb, is largely underground and includes a labyrinth of corridors, decorated with hieroglyphic carvings and tiles.

A central funeral shaft houses a massive granite-clad sarcophagus from Egypt’s Third Dynasty.

However, the pharaoh was actually buried in the famed Step Pyramid nearby.

The two structures make up part of the Saqqara complex near Cairo one of the country’s richest archaeological sites.

According to UNESCO, the Step Pyramid is the oldest known pyramid and one of the first examples of monumental architecture from the ancient world.

Locals believe that it has been the inspiration for the Pyramids at Giza.

Role of ministry

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism said the opening of the tomb this week marks the completion of restoration work that started in 2006.

 It includes reinforcing the underground corridors, refurbishing the carvings and the tiled walls, and installing lights.

As of Tuesday, the tomb opened to the public.

Tombs of Saqqara Plateau

In addition to the Southern Tomb, the Saqqara Plateau hosts at least 11 pyramids.

These include the Step Pyramid and hundreds of tombs of ancient officials and other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920 BC-2770 BC) to the Coptic period (395-642).

The Saqqara site is part of the necropolis of Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis.

This includes the famous Giza Pyramids and the smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh.

UNESCO recognised the ruins of Memphis as a World Heritage site in the 1970s.

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