Egypt : Archaeologists discover hundreds of sealed sarcophagi dating back to 2,500 years

Egypt : Archaeologists discover hundreds of sealed sarcophagi dating back to 2,500 years

Over 100 colourful sealed sarcophagi containing mummies and gilded statues, buried some 2,500 years back were discovered in the vast necropolis of Saqqara in Northern Egypt.

The discovery was made public on Saturday, October 14, 2020, by Egyptian antiquities officials in Saqqara.

In a news conference issued on Saturday, Khaled El-Enany, Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities specified that, the mummies date back to the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled Egypt from around 320BC to 30BC and from the Late Period, between 664 and 332BC.

Going by him, The sealed, wooden coffins, containing mummies, dating as far back as 2,500 years are still “in perfect condition of preservation.” The fine quality of the coffins meant that they were probably the final resting places for the wealthiest citizens, officials said.

 At the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara where the discoveries were exhibited, some archaeologists opened a colourful, sealed sarcophagus, and discovered inside a well-preserved mummy wrapped in a cloth. They also carried out X-raying visualising the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved.

Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Minister added that, the artefacts would be moved to three Cairo museums including the new Grand Egyptian Museum that Egypt is building near the famed Giza Pyramids. Besides, he’d added that further discoveries at the Saqqara necropolis would be revealed later this year.

“Saqqara has yet to reveal all of its contents. It is a treasure,” he said.

On his part, Dr Mostafa Waziri, the Secretary-General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities disclosed that, another two wooden statues were found in the tomb belonging to an ancient judge of the 6th dynasty.

“It was not immediately clear if the statues depicted any of the judge's family members but one statue is believed to depict an individual, by the name Heteb Ka, who was venerated by the king,” Waziri added.

However, this discoveries in Saqqara burial ground 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, as antiquities authorities have revealed over 140 sealed sarcophagi with mummies inside most of them, in the same area of Saqqara.

 Saqqara is a city in Northern Egypt, 20 miles South of Cairo, is a vast necropolis for the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis, and has long been the source of major archaeological finds.

The site was made a UNESCO world heritage site in the 1970s, the necropolis holds more than a dozen burial sites, including the Step Pyramid of King Djoser, the first known burial pyramid.


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