Egypt finds more than 100 sarcophagi in ancient cemetery

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The coffins were unearthed from three funeral shafts 12 meters deep, said the head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa El-Waziri, adding to the 59 sarcophagi found last month in the same area, which served as the necropolis for the ancient capital. of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“This is the biggest find of 2020, but we’re not stopping here yet. The discovery of one funeral shaft leads to another, ”Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany told reporters.

“Saqqara has yet to reveal one percent of his secrets. We can find graves and burial pits at every location in this area. ”

Some of the newly discovered, colored and sealed coffins were on display in a makeshift tent overlooking the Step Pyramid of Djoser in the vast necropolis. The gilded and wooden sarcophagi included mummies of priests and high officials belonging to the Late and Ptolemaic periods, dating back more than 2,500 years.

El-Waziri said the Egyptian missions were also stepping up their efforts to locate the workshop where the coffins were made. He attributed the difference in the colors and shapes of the sarcophagi to the financial muscle of their owners, with some being able to pay for golden coffins while others could only pay for wooden coffins.

Funeral masks and 40 wooden statues of the goddess Saqqara Ptah Soker were also found in the burial shafts.

Egyptian archaeologists scanned one of the mummies during the announcement, saying the deceased died in his 40s and did not suffer from any chronic illness.

Saqqara is home to 13 pyramids, including Djoser, which is considered the oldest stone structure of its size in the world. A series of finds have been made there in recent years, including the unearthing of a 4,400-year-old tomb of royal priest Wahtye in 2018 and the discovery of hundreds of mummified animals and statues a year later.

Egypt hopes its major findings will help revive its vital tourism industry, which has taken another hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic just as it began to recover from the aftermath of uprisings and civil unrest in 2011 and 2013.

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