On Tuesday, after a 15-year renovation, Egypt reopened the 4,700-year-old southern tomb of King Djoser to tourists at the pyramid of Saqqara. The tomb was closed until March 2020, for restoration. The Southern Tomb structure is underground and includes a labyrinth of corridors, decorated with hieroglyphic carvings and tiles. A central funeral shaft houses a massive granite-clad sarcophagus from Egypt’s Third Dynasty.
“The opening this week of the tomb structure marked the completion of restoration work that started in 2006 and included reinforcing of the underground corridors, refurbishing the carvings and the tiled walls, and installing lighting,” said Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism as per Reuters.
At least 11 pyramids are introduced by the Saqqara plateau, which also includes the Step Pyramid, as well as hundreds of tombs of ancient officials and other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C.-2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395-642). The pharaoh wasn’t covered but is well known nearby Step Pyramid. The two formation makes part of the Saqqara complex near Cairo which is said to be one of the country’s richest archaeological sites. According to UNESCO, one of the first examples of monumental architecture from the ancient world and the oldest known pyramid is said to be the Step Pyramid. It is supposed to have the inspiration for the Pyramids at Giza.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said, “The southern tomb, built between 2667 BC and 2648 BC, is thought to have been built for symbolic reasons, or perhaps to hold Djoser’s internal organs,” as quoted by Reuters. In recent months the COVID-19 pandemic has moved a series of new discoveries and a new museum.