Said to be cast on anyone who disturbs the burial of an ancient Egyptian, especially a pharaoh, the curse is considered by many to bring bad luck, disease or death. When Howard Carter made the astonishing discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, reports claimed that KV62 was engraved with “death will come on swift wings to one who disturbs the king’s peace.” Whether the curse was real or not, the promise was kept when Lord Carnarvon – the man who sponsored Mr Carter’s excavation – died four months later, as did six archaeologists.
New Netflix documentary “Secrets of Saqqara’s Tomb” reveals the story of the “once in a generation” discovery of the tomb of Wahtye, who served under the Third King of the Fifth Dynasty – Pharaoh Neferirkare.
During the excavations, led by a team of Egyptian archaeologists, workers also discovered a well filled with mummified animals believed to be dedicated to the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet.
And worker Hamada Shehata Ahmed Mansour, who was the first to be lowered into the well, told viewers: “I want to tell you something.
“Ever since I started working in this necropolis of cats, when cats see me around my house, they run. They are afraid of me.
“They don’t act like pets to me anymore like they used to.
“But when the cats run, I tell them ‘you have the right.
“’I just took your ancestors out of the ground and put them in storage.’
“Maybe they’re afraid that I will do the same to them.”
The tombs were discovered at Bubasteum, a temple complex dedicated to Bastet in the cliff of the desert border of Saqqara.
READ MORE: Egyptian Bomb: Analysis of 4,500-year-old Mummy of Saqqara’s bones “could change ancient history”
Professor Ikram went on to explain how these animals could attain the level of divinity equal to the gods worshiped by the ancient Egyptians.
She added, “During his lifetime this creature would be treated like a God, fed, watered and prayed.
“People would make offerings to this creature.
“They gave amulets and statues made of wood, stone, earthenware and even bronze.
“But they would also give animal mummies because the idea was that if you made a blood sacrifice to God, it would mean more than something made of wood or stone.
“Where the Bubasteion was built, there were a lot of old tombs that had been cut down, so the priest would take them and bury them in mass graves – that’s what we find today.”
The new documentary, which premiered around the world today, follows the journeys of workers who have discovered more than 3,000 artifacts, helping piece together the secrets of what has been called “the most important discovery of the world. ‘Egypt for almost 50 years’.
The team has decoded the burial of the most decorated tomb ever found at Saqqara, dedicated to Old Kingdom priest Wahtye.
Director James Tovell said: “It has been an exciting time for the whole world.
“The shooting of this film was an experience full of exciting surprises. Working with an Egyptian team that has a deep connection to their ancestors made the project even more unique.
Transporting audiences through the millennia, the film offers a unique and unprecedented window into the life – and death – of a man and his family.
His release comes after the Egyptian government announced the discovery of more than 80 sarcophagi at the same site last week, just two weeks after 59 more were also found.
The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Khalid el-Anany, said in a statement that archaeologists had found the collection of colorful and sealed coffins that were buried more than 2,500 years ago.