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Pyramid Construction Supervisor's Tomb Found
(More coverage on the story can be found at Yahoo News)
Egyptian archaeologists unveiled on Thursday two rock-hewn painted tombs belonging to a man who had a supervising role in the construction of pyramids -- and his son.
It's considered among the most distinguished Old Kingdom tombs.
Dr. , Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and the leader of the excavation, said that the tombs belonged to a father, Shendwa, and his son, Khonsu.
Consisting of a false door with paintings depicting scenes of the deceased seated before an offering table, Shendwa’s tomb featured inscriptions with the different titles of the tomb’s owner. (Caption: The false door of the unearthed tomb of Shendwas, father of Khonsu who both served as heads of the royal scribes during the Old Kingdom, is decorated with a painting depicting the owner sitting at a sacrifice table, in Saqqara near Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, July 8, 2010. I don't recall seeing an offering table with this kind of monolithic BLOCK on it before! What on earth is that? Offering tables are usually either laid out with tall "bread" that is a take-off on the board game of Senet, or piled high with fruits, joints of meat, bread, dishes, bowls, etc.)
According to the inscriptions, Shendwa was a top governmental official during the Sixth Dynasty (2374-2191 B.C.). He was the head of the royal scribes and the supervisor of the missions managing the materials used for pyramid construction.
Beneath the false door, 20 meters below the ground level, the archaeologists found the burial chamber.
“When Dr. Hawass descended into the tomb he realized that it was intact and had not previously been plundered by tomb robbers. Unfortunately Shendwa’s wooden sarcophagus had disintegrated due to humidity and erosion,” Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement.
In the burial chamber, Hawass found a collection of limestone jars which included five offering vessels carved in the shape of a duck.
“The bones of the ducks were still intact,” said Hawass.
The most important object found in the burial chamber was a 30-centimeter-high limestone obelisk. “This obelisk is a symbol of worshiping the sun god Re,” said Hawass, adding that during the Old Kingdom, a period also known as the age of pyramids, the Egyptians used to erect small obelisks in front of their tombs.
Next to Shendwa’s tomb, the archaeologists found the burial of his son Khonsu. Beautifully painted, it also featured a false door inscribed with Khonsu’s titles. “It appears that Khonsu inherited the same titles as his father,” Hawass said.
The tomb also contained an offering table and a stone lintel engraved with 6th Dynasty symbols.
Above the false door, there was was a brightly colored relief showing of the deceased Khonsu in different poses, Hawass said.
The tombs lie in an area known as“Gisr El-Mudir,” west of Saqqara's famous pyramid, the Step Pyramid of King Djoser. According to the archaeologists, the discovery of the two tombs could lead to unearthing a vast cemetery in the area.