Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered seven Pharaonic Age tombs near the capital Cairo containing dozens of cat mummies along with wooden statues depicting other animals and birds.

Ministry official Mostafa Waziri told reporters that the discovery at Saqqara also includes mummies of scarabs, the first ever to be found in the area.

Egypt Antiquities
Cat statues on display (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

Of the statues found, those depicting cats were the majority, reflecting the reverence ancient Egyptians showed the felines, whose God Bastet was worshipped.

Other statues depicted a lion, a cow and a falcon.

Egypt has been promoting its new historical discoveries in the hopes of reviving a devastated tourism sector still recovering from the turmoil following a 2011 uprising that toppled long-time leader Hosni Mubarak.