A two-metre high ancient encroachment wall has been discovered below a visitors’ pathway in the northern part of the West Aswan cemetery at Qubbet el-Hawa.
The site is being explored and excavated by a joint archaeological mission from the University of Birmingham and the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) Qubbet el-Hawa Research Project Group (QHRP), directed by Dr Martin Bommas of the University of Birmingham.
According to the Antiquities Ministry, the archaeologists believe the find to be “compelling evidence” of new Pharaonic tombs at Qubbet el-Hawa.
The wall is thought to indicate the architectural support for the known tombs of the first upper terrace, including those of Harkhuf and Heqaib, who were governors of Elephantine Island during the Old Kingdom.
Owing to the landscape of Qubbet el-Hawa, the support wall helped to secure the hillside, and thus lower lying tombs, which were accessible by a causeway leading to a second terrace.
Carl Graves, a PhD student who worked alongside Dr Bommas on the project, said: “The findings are dramatically altering our understanding of the funerary landscape in this area during the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period in 2278-2184BC. I don’t think anyone yet knows who the tombs might have belonged to.”