More Than 100 Egyptian Coffins Unearthed For First Time In 2,500 Years
An ancient haul of more than 100 coffins and around 40 gilded statues have been unearthed for the first time in thousands of years.
Egyptian antiquities officials announced the discovery today (Saturday 14 November), saying that many of the coffins held mummies inside.
They were found in a vast necropolis south of Cairo, and have now been opened for the first time since they were buried 2,500 years ago, after being unveiled on site.
The coffins - which belonged to top officials of the Late Period and the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt - were found in three burial shafts as deep as 40 feet.
Some of the colourful sealed sarcophagi contained mummies wrapped in cloth.
The artefacts are now being displayed in a makeshift exhibition at the feet of the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.
At a news conference there today, archeologists opened up one of the coffins to reveal a well-preserved mummy.
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They also carried out x-rays to visualise the structures of the ancient mummy, in turn showing how the body had been preserved.
Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany said at the event that the items date back thousands of years - the Dynasty having ruled Egypt from around 320 BC to 30 BC, while the Late Period ran between 664 BC and 332 BC.
El-Anany said at the unveiling ceremony: "Saqqara has yet to reveal all of its contents. It is a treasure.
"Excavations are still underway. Whenever we empty a burial shaft of sarcophagi, we find an entrance to another."
He added that the artefacts would eventually be moved to three Cairo museums, including the new Grand Egyptian Museum being built near the iconic Giza Pyramids, and they would also announce another discovery at the Saqqara necropolis later this year.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, also told reporters that archaeologists had found other 'shafts full of coffins' that were 'well-gilded, well-painted, well-decorated'.
The Saqqara site where the items were found is part of the necropolis at Egypt's ancient capital of Memphis, which were designated a Unesco World Heritage site in the 1970s.
It includes Giza and other, smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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