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‘One of a kind’ tomb dating back 4,400 years unveiled in Egypt

Click to play video: 'Egypt uncovers ‘untouched’ ancient tomb' Egypt uncovers ‘untouched’ ancient tomb
WATCH ABOVE: The 4,400-year-old tomb, dating from the rule of Neferirkare Kakai, is unique because of its near-perfect condition – Dec 15, 2018

SAQQARA, Egypt — Egypt unveiled a well-preserved 4,400-year-old tomb decorated with hieroglyphs and statues south of Cairo on Saturday, and officials expect more discoveries when archaeologists excavate the site further in coming months.

The tomb was found in a buried ridge at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara. It was untouched and unlooted, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters at the site. He described the find as “one of a kind in the last decades.”

READ MORE: Inside the 4,000-year-old Egyptian tomb now open to the public

The tomb dates from the rule of Neferirkare Kakai, the third king of the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.

Archaeologists removed a last layer of debris from the tomb on Thursday and found five shafts inside, Waziri said. One of the shafts was unsealed with nothing inside, but the other four were sealed. They are expecting to make discoveries when they excavate those shafts starting on Sunday, he said. He was hopeful about one shaft in particular.

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IN PHOTOS: Inside the newly discovered tomb of ‘Wahtye’

A statue is seen inside the newly discovered tomb of 'Wahtye', which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
A view of statues inside the newly discovered tomb of 'Wahtye', which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Journalists take photos inside the newly discovered tomb of 'Wahtye', which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
Journalists take photos inside the newly discovered tomb of 'Wahtye', which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
A general view of the newly discovered tomb of 'Wahtye', which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
A view of statues inside the newly discovered tomb of 'Wahtye', which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
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A statue is seen inside the newly discovered tomb of 'Wahtye', which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
A statue is seen inside the newly discovered tomb of 'Wahtye', which dates from the rule of King Neferirkare Kakai, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

“I can imagine that all of the objects can be found in this area,” he said, pointing at one of the sealed shafts. “This shaft should lead to a coffin or a sarcophagus of the owner of the tomb.”

The tomb is 10 meters (33 ft) long, three meters (9.8 ft) wide and just under three meters high, Waziri said.

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The walls are decorated with hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs. Waziri said the tomb was unique because of the statues and its near perfect condition.

“The color is almost intact even though the tomb is almost 4,400 years old,” he said.

WATCH: Egypt opens 4,000-year-old tomb

Click to play video: 'Egypt opens 4000-year-old tomb to the public' Egypt opens 4000-year-old tomb to the public
Egypt opens 4000-year-old tomb to the public – Sep 10, 2018

The tomb lies in a buried ridge that has only partially been uncovered. Waziri said he expects more discoveries to be made there when archaeologists start more excavation work in January.

The Fifth Dynasty ruled Egypt from about 2,500 BC to 2,350 BC, not long after the great pyramid of Giza was built.

READ MORE: Egyptian archaeologists discover 4,400-year-old tomb just outside of Cairo

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Saqqara served as the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than two millennia.

Ancient Egyptians mummified humans to preserve their bodies for the afterlife, while animal mummies were used as religious offerings.

Egypt has revealed over a dozen ancient discoveries this year.

The country hopes the finds will brighten its image abroad and revive interest among travelers who once flocked to its iconic pharaonic temples and pyramids but who fled after the 2011 political uprising

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