CAIRO — Egyptian antiquities officials Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 early coffins, a few with mummies indoors, and approximately 40 gilded statues in a huge Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo.
Colorful, sealed sarcophagi and statues which were buried over 2,500 decades ago were exhibited in a makeshift display in the feet of their celebrated Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara.
They also completed X‐raying imagining the structures of this early mummy, revealing how the body was maintained.
Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany told a news conference the uncovered items back to the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for 300 years — out of approximately 320 B.C. to approximately 30 B.C., and the Late Period (664-332 B.C.).
He said they’d move the artifacts into three Cairo museums such as the Grand Egyptian Museum which Egypt is building close to the famous Giza Pyramids. He said they’d announce another breakthrough in the Saqqara necropolis after this season.
The discovery in the famed necropolis is the most up-to-date in a string of archaeological finds in Egypt. Since September, the antiquities government revealed 140 sealed sarcophagi, together with mummies inside the majority of them, at precisely the same region of Saqqara.
The Saqqara website is part of the necropolis in Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis which comprises the famed Giza Pyramids, in addition to smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur, and Abu Ruwaysh. The ruins of Memphis have also designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in the 1970s.
Egypt frequently touts its archaeological discoveries in hopes of spurring an essential tourism sector that’s been reeling in the political chaos following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The business was dealt a further blow this season from the coronavirus pandemic.