CAIRO, April 20 (Xinhua) -- As the world celebrated the World Heritage Day, Egyptian archaeologists in Upper Egypt's Luxor brought to light a fantastic funerary collection of a New Kingdom tomb, including mummies and ushabti figurines: a discovery highly praised by Egyptian and foreign archaeologists alike.
Under the cliff of an ancient hill that embraces a number of Pharaonic tombs on the west bank of the Nile, Egyptian archaeologists unearthed a tomb dating back to the 18th Dynasty that belongs to an official in Luxor, the city that embraces one-third of the world's antiquities including the super-famous King Tut's tomb.
"We found hundreds of items inside the tomb. We found more than 1,000 ushabti statues, many coffins and many other objects," Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany told reporters while touring the tomb.
The minister added more items are expected to be found in the tomb soon as excavation works are still ongoing.
"This discovery is important as it shows that we have many hidden treasures everywhere in Egypt. This will definitely encourage tourists to come back in big numbers," the minister said.
As one of the most ancient civilizations, Egypt has been hard at work to preserve its archaeological heritages.
Also, in an attempt to revive the country's ailing tourism sector, which has suffered from an acute recession in the past few years due to political turmoil and security issues, Egypt is keen to uncover the Pharaohs' archaeological secrets as well as other ancient civilizations throughout the history of this country.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mostafa Waziri, head of the archaeological mission in Luxor told Xinhua that the T-shape tomb, which contains priceless treasures, is a typical prototype of a nobleman's burial place.
"The tomb consists of an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and then into an inner chamber. It belongs to the city's counselor Userhat," he said as he observed excavators working inside the tomb.
Carried out by 30 to 40 Egyptian workers and excavators, the discovery has also grabbed the attention of many foreign archaeologists who believe that the finding is highly important for both its archaeological and historical value.
"It is a very good job; the excavation is very well done at a very low cost. I'm very impressed by it indeed," Lawrence Arens, a British archaeologist working for a mission in Egypt's Delta region, told Xinhua as he watched Egyptian colleges working inside the tomb.
He said it is not only about the condition and the value of the discovery, but "it will also tell us about things that we did not know previously by giving us information about the lifestyle of people living in that period."
Revealing such a great discovery was not an easy mission for the excavators who spent time and effort to unearth these great finds.
Workers had to remove almost 450 cubic meters of debris from the open court to reach the entrance. Surprisingly, two other entrances leading to two joint tombs were also found.
"We do not know who the owners of these two tombs were, but we will start working on these two tombs once we are done with Userhat tomb," Waziri said.
Inside the rectangular hall, a well-preserved wooden coffin, decorated with colored scenes, was unearthed and a nine meters deep shaft was uncovered.
Inside the shaft, the mission has located two rooms; one on the eastern side where a collection of Ushabti figurines, wooden masks and a handle of a sarcophagus lid was unearthed, while the second one is located on the western side but has not been completely excavated.
The corridor of the tomb leads into an inner chamber where a cachette of sarcophagi is found. It houses a collection of sarcophagi from the 21st Dynasty with mummies wrapped in linen.
A collection of Ushabti figurines carved in faience, terracotta and wood were also unearthed as well as another collection of clay pots of different shapes and sizes.
Such a discovery is really important not only because of its value but also because it was done by Egyptian hands.
"I'm very proud that this entire job has been done by Egyptians," Waziri proudly said.