A group of men discovered a 3,400-year-old pharaonic temple from the reign of warrior king Thutmose III under their house in a city south of Cairo, Egyptian officials said on Wednesday.
Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Al-Damati said the seven men made the find during an illegal excavation in Al-Badrashin, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the capital.
The men, using diving equipment, had come across the temple in ground water after digging for nine metres.
A rose granite statue of a seated person was discovered in groundwater, 2.5 metres in height with the arms missing
A team of experts from the ministry took over the excavation work, while the seven men were detained but later released because the area was not a heritage site.
The monuments found include seven tablets, several column bases made of pink granite and a pink granite statue, the remains of the temple from the time of Thutmoses III, Al-Damati said.
Security was tight around the newly-discovered state
“We will start an excavation project in the area to find out more,” he said.
Illegal excavations and smuggling of ancient artefacts have been a major problem for Egyptian authorities, especially since the 2011 uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.