Ancient city dating back to around 5300 BC uncovered in Egypt

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on February 1, 2016 shows workers at the site of an ancient funerary boat in the Old Kingdom necropolis of Abu Sir, southwest of the capital Cairo. (AFP)

Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient Egyptian city and graveyard dating back to around 5300 BC, the antiquities ministry said on Wednesday.

The city and cemetery -- likely home to senior functionaries and grave builders -- was discovered about 400 metres (1300 feet) from the Temple of Seti I in the ancient city of Abydos in southern Egypt, said antiquities minister Mahmoud Afifi.

It is believed to date back to 5316 BC.

Excavators found huts, pottery and stone instruments, Afifi said.

They also discovered 15 large graves -- some of them even larger than royal graves in Abydos -- suggesting they housed the bodies of important figures.

"This discovery can shed light on a lot of information on the history of Abydos," a ministry statement quoted Afifi as saying.

The city of Abydos, founded by predynastic rulers, is famed for its temples such as that of Seti I and its graves.

Egypt is rich with ancient sites built by the pharaohs, but years of unrest and jihadist attacks have driven away many tourists.

Last Update: Thursday, 24 November 2016 KSA 00:34 - GMT 21:34