Archaeology breakthrough as 'exceptional' tomb found in Egypt linked to mysterious pharaoh

The spectacular discovery was made during an excavation of a chapel burial shaft in Saqqara. Researchers say they came across a burial shaft of a tomb belonging to a royal clerk known as Mehcheczi. The Ancient Egyptian was reportedly in charge of managing the royal estates of Pharaoh Userkare and the team say they found carvings depicting his life.

They also came across sketches of sacrificial animals including cows, oryxes and ibexes in black ink on lime plaster being visible.

The chapel was unfinished before the clerk died, the experts say.

The tomb and chapel are located on the eastern edge of a large rectangular dry moat surrounding the Step Pyramid burial complex.

This was dedicated to Pharaoh Djoser, who was the second king of the Third Dynasty of Ancient Egypt.

The moat stayed in use for hundreds of years after his reign.

But in present-day, it is almost completely covered with rubble and sand which was carried from the desert by the wind.

Kamil O. Kuraszkiewicz from the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw said: “We have only unveiled the façade of the chapel with the interior waiting for the next excavation season.

“Mehczeczi was clearly able to hire an efficient team of craftsmen, his chapel is decorated with reliefs of exceptional beauty that reveal an exceptionally skilled hand – elegant lines and subtle modelling comparable with the reliefs of Merefnebef’s tomb (a vizier at the court of Pharaoh Userkare).”

Mehcheczi was alive during the reign of Pharaoh Userkare – an elusive ruler.

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In March, researchers found five ancient tombs with well-preserved paintings at a cemetery in Saqqara.

The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the tombs belong to senior officials from the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate period.

They are reportedly more than four thousand years old.

The tombs were discovered close to the pyramid of King Merenre I and also contained big stone coffins, as well as wooden coffins and other artefacts.

Saqqara is 20miles from the Egyptian capital, Cairo, and has played host to a stunning array of archaeological finds.

One of the best-known features of the area is the famous Step Pyramid, built in the 27th century BC by Pharoah Djoser.