Some of the ancient sarcophagi discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara
Some of the ancient sarcophagi discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara
Photo: AFP
Some of the ancient sarcophagi discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi

Adorned sealed wooden coffins found in underground shafts at the sweeping Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo - a vast burial site belonging to the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis

AFP |
Published: 11.15.20 , 22:49
Egypt announced Saturday the discovery of an ancient treasure trove of more than 100 intact sarcophagi, dating back more than 2,500 years ago, the largest such find this year.
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  • The sealed wooden coffins, unveiled on site amid fanfare, belonged to top officials of the Late Period and the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt.
    Some of the ancient sarcophagi discovered in a vast necropolis in SaqqaraSome of the ancient sarcophagi discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara
    Some of the ancient sarcophagi discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara
    (Photo: AFP)
    They were found in three burial shafts at depths of 12 meters (40 feet) in the sweeping Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo.
    Archaeologists opened one coffin to reveal a mummy wrapped in a burial shroud adorned with brightly colored hieroglyphic pictorials.
    Saqqara, home to more than a dozen pyramids, ancient monasteries, and animals burial sites, is a vast necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    People look at ancient sarcophagi on display, discovered in a vast necropolis in SaqqaraPeople look at ancient sarcophagi on display, discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara
    People look at ancient sarcophagi on display, discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara
    (Photo: AP)
    The huge find came just over a month after archaeologists in the area found 59 other well-preserved and sealed wooden coffins, also 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-Anani said at the unveiling ceremony.
    "Excavations are still underway. Whenever we empty a burial shaft of sarcophagi, we find an entrance to another."
    rchaeologists x-ray a mummy wrapped in a burial shroud and adorned with brightly coloured hieroglyphic pictorials, during the unveiling more than a 100 intact sarcophagi, at Egypt's Saqqara necropolisrchaeologists x-ray a mummy wrapped in a burial shroud and adorned with brightly coloured hieroglyphic pictorials, during the unveiling more than a 100 intact sarcophagi, at Egypt's Saqqara necropolis
    Archaeologists x-ray a mummy wrapped in a burial shroud and adorned with brightly colored hieroglyphic pictorials, during the unveiling more than 100 intact sarcophagi, at Egypt's Saqqara necropolis
    (Photo: AFP)
    More than 40 statues of ancient deities and funerary masks were also discovered, he said.
    Another two wooden statues were found in the tomb belonging to an ancient judge of the 6th dynasty, according to Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
    The sarcophagi will be distributed among several museums in Egypt including the yet-to-opened Grand Egyptian Museum at the Giza plateau.
    Hyroglyphs etched on one of the discovered sarcophagi Hyroglyphs etched on one of the discovered sarcophagi
    Hieroglyphs etched on one of the discovered sarcophagi
    (Photo: TNS)
    The minister attributed the flurry of discoveries in Saqqara to extensive excavation works in recent years.
    Another discovery in the vast necropolis is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, Anani added.
    Archaeologists also hope to find an ancient workshop for manufacturing wooden coffins for mummies soon, said Waziri.
    Egypt hopes archaeological discoveries will spur tourism, a sector which has suffered multiple shocks ever since a 2011 uprising up until today's coronavirus pandemic.

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