Archaeologists have just discovered a 3,800-year-old royal boat tomb located in Abydos, one of Egypt's most important ancient sites.

The burial site features a fleet of 120 ancient boats sketched onto the interior walls, which is believed to be part of the mortuary complex of Pharoah Senwosret III - one of the most powerful rulers of Egypt's middle kingdom. 

"We were quite mystified. We were expecting it to be a tomb," said Josef Wegner, a curator at the Penn Museum and the lead behind the excavation, according to National Geographic.

The clues found suggest the structure was "constructed to bury a large wooden boat that had been used in a royal funeral." 

This brought forth a revelation that the practice of burying boats near royalty was still honored in 1840 BC. 

The structure was first noticed in 1901 by British archaeologist Arthur Weigall who exposed the roof as well as the tops of the interior walls. 

However, the roof collapsed after his crew excavated the sand from beneath it.  

The project was completely left alone until very recently, following a joint effort between archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania and Egypt's Ministry of State for Antiquities. 

The excavation was partly funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society.