<p><strong>Workers and archaeologists stand at the 4,200-year-old site of two rock-hewn Egyptian tombs recently excavated near <a href="http://traveler.nationalgeographic.com/2007/11/48-hour-guide/cairo-text">Cairo</a> and unveiled Thursday.</strong></p><p>Featuring boldly painted false doors, the tombs are the last resting places of Shendwa, head of the royal scribes under Pharaoh Pepi II, and his son Khonsu, also a scribe. Both were members of the literate ruling class during ancient <a id="hjkt" title="Egypt" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/egypt-guide/">Egypt</a>'s Old Kingdom (2686 to 2160 B.C.), during which most of <a id="fiju" title="Egypt's pyramids" href="http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pyramids">Egypt's pyramids</a> were built (<a id="ryt-" title="ancient Egypt time line" href="http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pyramids/timeline.html">ancient Egypt time line</a>).</p><p>Occupying a thousand-square-foot (300-square-meter) site, the tombs were found in the royal burial ground at <a id="tz4." title="Saqqara (map)" href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0210/feature1/map.html">Saqqara (map)</a>—strangely far from the tomb of Pepi II."We never expected to find a tomb that belongs to [the period of] that king" at the dig site, said Abdul Hakeem Karar, director of the Saqqara necropolis for Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.</p><p>(Related <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/02/photogalleries/100216-king-tut-health-malaria-inbred-bone-tutankhamun-pictures/#025874_600x450.jpg">King Tut pictures: "DNA Study Reveals Health Secrets."</a>)<em></em></p><p><em>—Andrew Bossone in Cairo</em></p>

Tombs Emerge From Egypt Sands

Workers and archaeologists stand at the 4,200-year-old site of two rock-hewn Egyptian tombs recently excavated near Cairo and unveiled Thursday.

Featuring boldly painted false doors, the tombs are the last resting places of Shendwa, head of the royal scribes under Pharaoh Pepi II, and his son Khonsu, also a scribe. Both were members of the literate ruling class during ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom (2686 to 2160 B.C.), during which most of Egypt's pyramids were built (ancient Egypt time line).

Occupying a thousand-square-foot (300-square-meter) site, the tombs were found in the royal burial ground at Saqqara (map)—strangely far from the tomb of Pepi II."We never expected to find a tomb that belongs to [the period of] that king" at the dig site, said Abdul Hakeem Karar, director of the Saqqara necropolis for Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.

(Related King Tut pictures: "DNA Study Reveals Health Secrets.")

—Andrew Bossone in Cairo

Photograph courtesy Egypt Supreme Council of Antiquities

Pictures: Ancient Egyptian Tombs Found With False Doors

Two newfound ancient Egyptian tombs built for father and son boast false doors, boldly painted portals to the afterlife.

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