Archaeologists have discovered the 3,300-year-old tomb of the ancient Egyptian capital's mayor, whose resting place had been lost under the desert sand since 19th century treasure hunters first carted off some of its decorative wall panels.
Ptahmes, mayor of Memphis, was also army chief, overseer of the treasury and royal scribe under Seti I and his son and successor, Ramses II, in the 13th century BC.
The discovery of his tomb earlier this year in a New Kingdom necropolis at Saqqara, south of Cairo, solves a riddle dating back to 1885, when foreign expeditions made off with pieces of the tomb..
“It was covered by sand and no one knew about it,” said archaeology Professor Ola el-Aguizy of Cairo University, who led the excavation. “It is important because this tomb was the lost tomb.”
Some of the artifacts ended up in museums in the Netherlands, the United States and Italy as well as the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, providing the only clues about the missing tomb.
A team from Cairo University's archaeology department found the tomb in new excavations that started in 2005, Prof el-Aguizy said. The inner chambers of the large, temple-style tomb and Ptahmes' mummy remain undiscovered.