Cairo: A group of men discovered a 3,400-year-old pharaonic temple from the reign of warrior king Thutmosis III under their house in a city south of Cairo, Egyptian officials said Wednesday.

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty 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 (yards).

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 - remains of the temple from the time of Thutmosis III, Damaty said.

"We will start an excavation project in the area to find more," he said.

Illegal excavations and smuggling of ancient artefacts have been a major headache for Egyptian authorities, especially since the 2011 uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak.