Mummified mice found in ‘beautiful, colourful’ Egyptian tomb

Recently discovered tomb of official dating back more than 2,000 years contains dozens of animals and two mummies

Hieroglyphics and illustrations inside the ancient Egyptian tomb, which was unveiled this week. Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of mummified mice were among the animals found in an ancient Egyptian tomb that was unveiled on Friday.

The well-preserved and finely painted tomb near the Egyptian town of Sohag – a desert area near the Nile about 390km (242 miles) south of Cairo – is thought to be from the early Ptolemaic period, dating back more than 2,000 years.

Mummified mice and falcons on display at the recently discovered burial site near Sohag. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
Two mummies, of a woman and a child, were also displayed. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

The tomb is believed to have been built for a senior official named Tutu and his wife, and is one of seven discovered in the area last October, when authorities found smugglers digging illegally for artefacts.

Its painted walls depict funeral processions and images of the owner working in the fields, as well as his family genealogy written in hieroglyphics.

“It’s one of the most exciting discoveries ever in the area,” said Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of Egypt’s supreme council of antiquities. He said it was a “beautiful, colourful tomb”.

Fragments of decorative faces at the tomb, which is believed to have been built for a senior official during the early Ptolemaic period. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
Wall paintings inside the tomb, dating back more than 2,000 years, are well preserved. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

“It shows images of the owner of the burial room, Tutu, giving and receiving gifts before different gods and goddesses,” Waziri said.

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