Egyptian archaeologists yesterday unearthed several mummies and hundreds of funerary statues in a 3,500-year-old tomb near the city of Luxor, the latest in a series of major discoveries of ancient relics.
The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the Kings.
The antiquities ministry said that the tomb was built for a nobleman named Userhat who worked as the city judge during the New Kingdom period, from roughly 1,500 to 1,000 B.C.
It was opened to add more mummies during the 21st Dynasty, about 3,000 years ago, to protect them during a period when tomb-robbing was common, Mostafa Waziri, the head of the archaeological mission, said at the site.
Mr Waziri said another chamber was found containing the statues, which depict kings from different dynasties. The mission is working to restore the tomb and unearth the rest of its chambers.
Mr Waziri said that his team is working in restoring the wooden coffins so it could be moved. He said that the mission has discovered that the inhabitants of the tomb have died because of a disease, and that they are working to discover the type of this disease.
"It is a T-shaped tomb (which) consists of an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber," the ministry said in a statement.
A nine-metre shaft inside the tomb held the Ushabti figurines, as well as "wooden masks and a handle of a sarcophagus lid," the ministry said.
"The corridor of the tomb leads into an inner chamber where a cachette of sarcophagi is found.” Ushabti is a minor size statue, which was a funerary figurine used in Ancient Egypt.
Ushabti states representing the days of the year, used to be placed around the sarcophagus in tombs to act as servants or minions for the deceased.
Egypt's ministry of antiquities has announced several discoveries recently.
It hopes that the new discoveries would revive tourism, which has suffered greatly because of the political unrest following 2011 uprising and most recently the terrorist attacks carried by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) affiliated groups, which reached Egypt's mainland.