A TOMB excavation in Egypt has revealed brightly coloured paintings made 4,300 years ago, during what is known as the Age of the Pyramids.
The newly-opened necropolis near Saqqara, about 20 miles south of Cairo, features depictions inspired by the nearby Giza pyramids, painted in special resins that have kept their hues over the millennia.
The tomb was built for a nobleman called Khuwy, who lived in the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, which in total spanned 2686BC to 2181BC, reports The Times.
The art of pyramid building had been perfected in the preceding Fourth Dynasty.
Experts believe the new discovery could shed fresh light on the pyramids themselves.
Historians regard this period as being "written in stone", with events recorded only through monuments rather than texts.
It is hoped that Khuwy's tomb paintings might shade in some of the finer details of the age.
The frescoes inside the tomb show men in boats, servants bringing food and drink, and birds, all skirted with decorative borders.
The reds and yellows, in particular, have withstood the ravages of time well.
The tomb's decorated entrance tunnel is of a kind usually only seen in the pyramids and the paint used was reserved for royals.
Researchers are investigating Khuwy's relationship with Djedkare Isesi, the penultimate pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty who is buried in a nearby pyramid in Saqqara.
He ruled for 40 years, but little is known about him. His partially mummified remains are also in the tomb.
Saqqara, west of the Nile, is home to the biggest collection of tombs and pyramids in Egypt but is overshadowed by Giza, 15 miles away.
Other sites excavated there have contained mummified cats, mice, dogs and falcons.
Djedkare Isesi was the first to build a pyramid to the south of the main necropolis in Saqqara.
Today, the 197ft structure, which towers over a nearby village, is known locally as The Sentinel.
Khaled al-Enani, Egypt's antiquities minister, joined by the Egyptian actress Yosra, 64, led a group of 52 foreign ambassadors and cultural attaches on a tour of the site on Saturday.
Mr Enani announced that two more new discoveries will be unveiled in Luxor, along with the restoration of a colossus of Ramses II, on World Heritage Day on Thursday.
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He said that the country's museums and archaeological sites would be free to visit for Egyptians, Africans, Arabs and foreigners residing in Egypt for the day.
The country has embarked on a drive to uncover new historical treasures in an effort to lure tourists back after years of revolution, upheaval and terrorist attacks.
Three big renovation projects have been announced since the start of this year - Philae temple in Aswan, the Graeco-Roman museum in Alexandria and the New Valley museum near the town of Kharga.
A version of this story originally appeared on The Times.
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