Mummies and up to 40 gilded statues found in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo
Egyptian antiquities officials have announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and about 40 gilded statues in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo.
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.
Archaeologists opened a coffin inside which was a well-preserved mummy wrapped in cloth. They also carried out X-raying visualising the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved.
The tourism and antiquities minister, Khaled el-Anany, told a news conference that the items date back to the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for some 300 years from about 320BC to about 30BC , and the Late Period (664-332BC ).
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.
He said they would announce another discovery at the Saqqara necropolis later this year. The find at the famed necropolis is the latest in a series of archaeological discoveries in Egypt. Since September, antiquities authorities have revealed at least 140 sealed sarcophagi, most with mummies inside, in the same area of Saqqara.
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 Saqqara site is part of the necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis which includes the 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 the 1970s.