Discovery of the Tomb of Akhethotep, 1941
The discovery of the tomb of Akhethotep, overlord of the 5th dynasty, in 1941 was and will forever remain one of the most spectacular discoveries in the history of Egyptology. Hassabollah Taieb recorded the moment for posterity modestly, as he considered the wooden figures to be his own ancestors.
Akhethotep’s titles included that of a vizier, overlord of the 5th Dynasty around 2400 BC, making him to the highest official at the royal court, only second to the king. He was also overseer of the treasuries, overseer of the scribes of the king’s documents and overseer of the granaries. Akhethotep was the son of Ptahhotep who was a vizier too.
A sketch plan dated 1940 prepared by Abd El Salam Hussein, architect of the Department of Antiquities, based on his explorations near the causeway of King Unas, shows a group of tombs located about 190–220 meters (620–720 ft) away from the pyramid of Unas, which among others included the tomb of Akhethotep. The tombs were found in a depression about 10 meters (33 ft) below a wall that protected the causeway.