Egypt has unearthed a more than 7,000-year-old city and cemetery dating back to its First Dynasty in the southern province of Sohag, the Antiquities Ministry said on Wednesday.
The city and cemetery - likely home to senior functionaries and grave builders - was discovered about 400 meters (1300 feet) from the Temple of Seti I in the ancient city of Abydos in southern Egypt, said antiquities minister Mahmoud Afifi.
The city likely housed high-ranking officials and grave builders. Its discovery may yield new insights on Abydos, one of the oldest cities in Ancient Egypt, the ministry said in a statement.
Experts say Abydos was Egypt's capital towards the end of the Pre-dynastic Period and during the rule of the first four dynasties.
The discovery was made 400 meters away from the temple of Seti I, a New Kingdom period memorial across the Nile from present day Luxor.
Archaeologists have so far uncovered huts, pottery remains and iron tools as well as 15 huge graves, some of which were larger than the graves of kings in Abydos, the ministry said in a statement.
"The size of the graves discovered in the cemetery is larger in some instances than royal graves in Abydos dating back to the First Dynasty, which proves the importance of the people buried there and their high social standing during this early era of ancient Egyptian history," the ministry said.
Egypt is rich with ancient sites built by the pharaohs, but years of unrest and terrorist attacks have driven away many tourists.