New tomb may be one of many
A PAINTED tomb of an important member of the ancient Egyptian court was recently discovered on the Giza Plateau, reports Nevine El-Aref.
Archaeologists stumbled on the tomb while excavating at the southern end of the pyramid builders' necropolis at Giza. The team from the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) believes it to be the Fifth-Dynasty tomb of Rudj-Ka, who primarily served as a purification priest for King Khafre and his mortuary cult.
Culture Minister Farouk Hosni says that the Khafre pyramid complex and mortuary cult continued to function well after the king's death thanks to an assembly of priests and administrators who were provisioned through royal endowments.
Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the SCA, said the tomb was the first to be found in this area, and added that its distinguished architectural design made it unique. Its superstructure is constructed of limestone blocks, which create a maze-like pathway to the main entrance. The burial chamber itself is cut directly into the cliff face.
Rudj-Ka held several positions in the ancient Egyptian governmental echelon, among them "the well known to the king" and "the priest in charge of King Khafre's purification and King Khafre's pyramid complex purification".
Hawass continued that the tomb walls were beautifully decorated with painted reliefs featuring Rudj-Ka and his wife before an offering table laden with gifts of bread, geese and cattle. Scenes from daily life depicting Rudj-Ka fishing and boating are also shown.
"This tomb could be just the first of further tombs in a necropolis created for other categories of people different from the pyramids' builders," Hawass told Al-Ahram Weekly. He said there were hopes of finding similar tombs in the area, and suggested that this could be a continuation of the western necropolis at Giza which may have resulted from overcrowding on the Giza Plateau itself.