Cairo: Egyptian authorities have announced the discovery of seven pharaonic tombs near the capital city of Cairo.
The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission during excavation works at the area located on the stony edge of King Userkaf pyramid complex in Saqqara necropolis, Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany told Xinhua news agency on Saturday.
The mission has uncovered three plain New Kingdom tombs that had been used during the Late Period as necropolis for cats along with four other Old Kingdom tombs, the most important of which belongs to Khufu-Imhat, the overseer of the royal buildings in the royal palace.
al-Anany said that the Egyptian mission selected such a site to excavate because "there was a high probability that a collection of Old Kingdom tombs for individual could be uncovered around the ramp of King Userkaf pyramid complex".
A French mission previously excavated the eastern section of the site and uncovered a collection of Old and New Kingdoms tombs that were used during the Late Period as cats' graves, he said.
The French mission has stopped all excavations on site since 2008 and devoted all its work to study document and restore some of the discovered tombs. However, all the works have completely stopped since 2013.
"This is the first of three upcoming new discoveries in other governorates in Upper Egypt to be announced before the end of 2018," al-Anany said.
Egypt, the country to one of the most ancient civilizations, has been working hard to preserve its archaeological heritage and discover the secrets of its ancient antiquities in a bid to revive the country's ailing tourism sector.
Tourism sector has suffered an acute recession over the past few years due to political turmoil and relevant security issues.