Dozens of ancient coffins unveiled in Egypt

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Dozens of 2,500-year-old coffins found in Egypt’s vast Saqqara necropolis were on display on Saturday.The 59 coffins belonging to Egyptian priests and clerics of the 26th Dynasty were discovered in August at the site south of Cairo. They were buried in three 30- to 40-foot wells, along with 28 statues of the ancient Egyptian god Seker, one of the most important burial deities, Reuters reported.

The coffins were in pristine condition thanks to a protective seal that has preserved them from chemical reactions over the centuries, said Mostafa al-Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquities. The first studies show that the decorated coffins were made for priests, high officials and elites of the late Pharaonic period (664-525 BC).

One was opened in front of reporters to reveal the mummy inside, the Associated Press reported.

The Egyptian archaeological mission behind the find began digging in 2018. Earlier finds included a cache of mummified animals and the well-preserved tomb of a fifth dynasty royal priest called “Wahtye”.

The Saqqara Plateau is home to at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, as well as hundreds of tombs of former officials and other sites ranging from the 1st Dynasty (2920 BC-2770 BC) to the Coptic period (395-642).

The mission will continue to open the coffins and study their contents ahead of their possible exhibition at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is slated to open next year.

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