Robert Collins
Robert Collins
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2 min of reading
  • The discovery comes just over a month after 59 other well-preserved and sealed wooden coffins dating back more than 2,500 years ago. Saqqara has yet to reveal all of its contents.
  • It is a treasure”, Antiquities and Tourism Minister Khaled al-Anany said at the unveiling ceremony.

Saqqara (SK) — Egypt's antiquities authorities announced Saturday the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside. The huge find came just over a month after archaeologists in the area found 59 other well-preserved and sealed wooden coffins dating back more than 2,500 years ago. Satqara has yet to reveal all of its contents. “It is a treasure”, Antiquities and Tourism Minister Khaled al-Anany said at the unveiling ceremony.

Colorful, sealed sarcophagi and statues that were buried more than 2,500 years ago were displayed in a makeshift exhibition at the feet of the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser. The archaeologists opened a coffin with a well-preserved mummified cloth inside. They also carried out X-rays to visualize the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved.

Minister Khaled al-Anany said the discovered items date back to the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for some 300 years, from around 320 B.C. He said they would move the artifacts to at least three Cairo museums, including the Grand Egyptian Museum that Egypt is building near the famed Giza Pyramids. The archaeologists will announce another discovery at the Saqqara necropolis later this year. The discovery at the famous necropolis is the latest in a series of archaeological finds in Egypt. Egypt's archaeologists found “shafts full of coffins, well-gilded, well-painted, well-decorated”, said Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Sumpre Council of Antiquities.

Other sites in the Saqqara area include the famed Giza Pyramids, as well as smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh. The ruins of Memphis were a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1970s. Egypt frequently touts its archaeological discoveries in hopes of spurring a vital tourism industry. Tourism has been reeling from the political turmoil following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The sector was further destroyed this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

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