Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered an ancient city and a cemetery believed to be more than 7,000 years old at Abydos City in the Sohag province, the Antiquities Ministry revealed on Wednesday, Nov. 23.
Home Of Builders Of Royal Cemeteries
It is believed that the forgotten ancient city served as residence of senior officials and grave builders who were responsible for building the cemeteries of the royal family in Abydos.
The discovery of the lost civilization, which dates back to Egypt's First Dynasty, was made during excavations conducted by an archaeological mission of the Ministry of Antiquities.
Important Archaeological Site
Abydos is one of ancient Egypt's oldest cities and served as the Egyptian capital by the end of the Predynastic Period and during the reign of the first four dynasties.
It is considered as among the country's most important archaeological sites, being the home of many ancient temples and a royal necropolis where pharaohs were entombed.
Pottery, Stone Tools And Graves
Archaeologists found huts, iron tools and pottery as well as 15 huge graves made of mudbrick. The remains of pottery and stone tools suggest that the city supplied the labor force involved in the building of royal tombs with food and drink.
The ministry said that the size of the graves indicate the importance of the people who were buried there.
"The size of the graves discovered in the cemetery is larger in some instances than royal graves in Abydos dating back to the First Dynasty," the ministry said.
Mahmoud Afify, the head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector, stressed the importance of the discovery. The find may lead to new information that can shed light on the history of Abydos City as well as on the history of ancient Egypt in general.
Discovery May Boost Tourism
The discovery is also hoped to boost Egypt's ailing tourism industry, which remains an important source of foreign currency for the country.
Egypt is rich in ancient sites that were built hundreds of years ago by the pharaohs. The ancient pyramids, in particular, draw tourists to visit the country. There is also interest on ancient Egyptian royals including Queen Nefertiti and King Tut.
Years of unrest and jihadist attacks, however, have discouraged many tourists from visiting Egypt over the past years.
Egypt had 14.7 million tourists in 2010 but this dropped to 9.8 million in 2011. Only 1.2 million tourists visited Egypt in the first quarter of 2016.