Egypt has opened up the tomb of King Tutankhamun’s wet-nurse to international tourists for the first time since it was discovered in 1996.
The carvings inside the chamber are said to include scenes of Maia nursing the young king. There is also some speculation that Maia might even have been Tutankhamun’s sister.
The tomb is located in the Saqqara, an important archaeological area around 30km south of Cairo.
“We first thought it was a cemetery for embalmed cats established by the pharoahs,” said Mamdouh al-Damati, the Egyptian Antiquities Minister. “But with the help of French experts we discovered that it includes many private tombs of people associated with the pharoahs who lived during the 18th and 19th dynasties.”
The Saqqara area is home to numerous pyramids and was designated a World Heritage Site by the UN in 1979.
“It was an adventure over many years,” said French Egyptologist, Dr Alain Zivie. “We always knew the name of Maia but even so we felt this was an important discovery. We had already made other very important discoveries but this one, because of the name of Tutankhamun, which is magical for the public, took up a large part of our life.”