Newly-Discovered Ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus Opened For The First Time In 2,500 Years
Archaeologists in Egypt have found 59 sealed sarcophagi that were discovered at the Saqqara site in Giza, Egypt.
It is believed that the mummified remains - which are ornately decorated - date back over 2,500 years, with more expected to be found.
Around 40 of the coffins were displayed to the press at the burial ground of Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Khalid el-Anany said at least 59 sealed sarcophagi, with mummies inside most of them, were found that had been buried in three wells.
Mr el-Anany said: "I consider this is the beginning of a big discovery," adding that there is an unknown number of coffins that have yet to be unearthed in the same area.
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Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that initial studies show that the decorated coffins were made for priests, top officials and elites from the Pharaonic Late Period (664-525 B.C.).
He said archaeologists also found a total of 28 statuettes of Ptah-Soker the main god of the Saqqara necropolis, and a beautifully carved 35 cm tall bronze statuette of god Nefertum, inlaid with precious stones. The name of its owner, Priest Badi-Amun, is written on its base.
According to AP, Egyptian antiquities officials had announced the discovery of the first batch coffins last month, when archaeologists found 13 of the containers in a newly discovered 11 meter-deep (36 feet) well.
El-Anany said the Saqqara coffins would join 30 ancient wooden coffins that were discovered in October in the southern city of Luxor, and will be showcased at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which Egypt is building near the Giza Pyramids.
The Saqqara discovery is the latest in a series of archeological finds that Egypt has sought to publicise in an effort to revive its key tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising. The sector was also dealt a further blow this year by the global coronavirus pandemic.
When 13 of the coffins were found last month, Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the coffins were found stacked on top of each other and were discovered 11 metres underground.
Khaled Al-Anani, the minister of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, wrote on Twitter: "[It's] an indescribable feeling when you witness a new archeological discovery."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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