Hawass told reporters today at the Saqqara necropolis that archaeologists unearthed the temple of Queen Neit, wife of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty who ruled Egypt from 2323 BC. C. until 2150 a. C.
Archaeologists also found a four-meter-long papyrus that includes texts from the Book of the Dead, which is a collection of spells intended to direct the dead through the underworld in ancient Egypt, he said.
Hawass said archaeologists also unearthed burial pits, coffins, and mummies dating back to the New Kingdom that ruled Egypt from 1570 BC. C. and 1069 a. C.
They discovered at least 22 burial pits up to 40 feet deep, with more than 50 wooden coffins dating to the New Kingdom, said Hawass, who is Egypt’s best-known archaeologist.
Hawass, known for his Indiana Jones hat and television specials on ancient sites in Egypt, said work has been going on at the site near the Pyramid of Teti for more than a decade.
The discovery was the result of cooperation between the Ministry of Antiquities and the Zahi Hawass Center at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
The most spectacular ancient finds discovered by humans
The Saqqara site is part of the necropolis of Egypt’s ancient capital, Memphis, which includes the famous pyramids of Giza and the smaller pyramids of Abu Sir, Dahshur, and Abu Ruwaysh.
The Memphis Ruins were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1970s.
In recent years, Egypt has heavily promoted new archaeological finds among the international media and diplomats in hopes of attracting more tourists to the country.
The vital tourism sector suffered years of political turmoil and violence that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled the autocrat Hosni Mubarak.