Dozens of mummified mice were among the animals found in an ancient Egyptian tomb, unveiled Friday (Apr 5) by the antiquities ministry with the aim of drawing tourists to the central Sohag province.
The well-preserved tomb, dating back more than 2,000 years, was unearthed in the city of Akhmim and is believed to have belonged to a senior official.
Its painted walls depict funeral processions and images of the owner working in the fields, as well as his family genealogy written in hieroglyphics.
Two mummies, a woman aged between 35-50 and a boy aged 12-14, were on display outside the shallow burial chamber, in a desert area near the Nile about 390km south of Cairo.
Around 50 mummified animals, including mice, cats and falcons, were also recovered from the tomb.
“It’s one of the most exciting discoveries ever in the area,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities which sits within the ministry.
“The tomb is made up of a central lobby, and a burial room with two stone coffins. The lobby is divided in two”, he said.
“It shows images of the owner of the burial room, Tutu, giving and receiving gifts before different gods and goddesses”.
Ptolemaic rule spanned about three centuries until the Roman conquest in 30 B.C.
Egypt’s tourism industry has been struggling in recent years and the antiquities ministry said Friday’s presentation was intended to “draw the world’s attention to the civilisation and antiquities of Egypt”.
The country’s plethora of heritage sites is a major draw for tourists and the ministry described Sohag as “one of the most historically rich cities in Egypt”, where a museum opened last year.
Political instability and deadly attacks since the 2011 revolution have led to a drop in visitor numbers, although there has been a slight recovery in recent years.
Authorities regularly celebrate new discoveries, but Egypt is often accused of negligence regarding its cultural heritage and a lack of scientific rigour.