Ancient Egyptian tomb unveiled as vivid colours survive 4,300 years

An incredibly well preserved 4,300-year-old tomb has been unveiled around 15.5 miles (25km) south of Cairo.

The discovery was made in March in Saqqara - a vast, ancient burial site serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis - and archaeologists were taken aback by the vivid colours that survived more than four millennia.

The tomb is thought to have belonged to a high-ranking fifth dynasty official called Khuwy, who was believed to have been a nobleman during the period spanning the 25th to the 24th centuries BC - around 1,000 years before Tutankhamun.

The tomb is thought to predate Tutankhamun by 1,000 years. Credit: Twitter/Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Mohamed Mujahid, head of the excavation team, said the tomb is L-shaped, with a small corridor leading down to an antechamber, beyond which is a larger chamber with walls covered in painted reliefs that show Khuwy sitting at a table for offerings.

Several paintings remain brightly colored despite the passage of time, in shades associated with royalty.

The tomb also boasts a tunnel entrance that is usually only found in pyramids.

Features such as these have made archaeologists question the relationship between Khuwy, an official, and Djedkare Isesi, the pharaoh of the time, whose pyramid sits nearby.

One theory is that Khuwy and Djedkare Isesi could have been related, while others say the tomb's unique design is the result of the pharaoh's reforms of state administration and funerary cults.

Khuwy’s mummy and canopic jars were found fragmented into several pieces inside the tomb, but the paintings on the walls were remarkably well preserved.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Enani took a party of foreign ambassadors and other officials to inspect the tomb.

The ministry also hopes that the discovery will shed more light on the enigmatic King Djedkare and his influential 40-year reign.