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Wonders As Egypt Unveils 100 Coffins From Over 2500 Years Ago Still Intact (Pix)

Egyptian antiquities officials on Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo.

The colourful, sealed sarcophagi and statues that were buried more than 2,500 years ago were displayed in a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.

The sealed wooden coffins, unveiled on site amid much fanfare, belonged to top officials of the Late Period and the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt.

They were found in three burial shafts at depths of 40 feet the sweeping necropolis, that were once Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis.

Archaeologists opened a coffin with a well-preserved mummy wrapped in cloth inside.

They also carried out X-raying visualising the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany told a news conference that the discovered items date back to the Ptolemaic dynasty.

The Dynasty ruled Egypt for some 300 years – from around 320 B.C. to about 30 B.C., and the Late Period (664-332 B.C.).

‘Saqqara has yet to reveal all of its contents. It is a treasure,’ el-Anany said at the unveiling ceremony.

‘Excavations are still underway. Whenever we empty a burial shaft of sarcophagi, we find an entrance to another.’

The discovery at the famed necropolis is the latest in a series of archaeological finds in Egypt.

It 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.

Since September, antiquities authorities revealed at least 140 sealed sarcophagi, with mummies inside most of them, in the same area of Saqqara – around 10 miles south-east of the Pyramids of Giza.

Egyptian archaeologists found other ‘shafts full of coffins, well-gilded, well-painted, well-decorated,’ Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters on Saturday.

The minister attributed the flurry of discoveries in Saqqara to extensive excavation works in recent years.

He said they would move the artefacts to at least three Cairo museums including the Grand Egyptian Museum that Egypt is building near the famed Giza Pyramids.

They would announce another discovery at the Saqqara necropolis later this year, he added.

The Saqqara site is part of the necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis that includes the famed Giza Pyramids, as well as smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh.

The ruins of Memphis were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1970s.

Archaeologists also hope to find an ancient workshop for manufacturing wooden coffins for mummies soon, according to Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Egypt frequently touts its archaeological discoveries in hopes of spurring a vital tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The sector was also dealt a further blow this year by the coronavirus pandemic.


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