A team of archeologists at the Saqqara necropolis in Giza discovered a big collection of 2,500-year-old sealed sarcophagi and figurines. The mummified remains showed that they were all buried according to the complex ancient rituals of the era.

Ancient Egypt was the preeminent civilization in the Mediterranean world for centuries. Its long and wealthy history, as well as the accomplishments of the Egyptians, are impressive.

This mysterious civilization, the numerous gods, goddesses, and pyramids are captivating and capture the imagination of billions of tourists.

Egypt’s majesty has long entranced archaeologists and historians, and the many monuments, objects, and artifacts, covered with hieroglyphs, that have been recovered from archaeological sites, are the main source of information for this ancient civilization.

Now, archeologists have discovered a big collection of 2,500-year-old sealed sarcophagi and figurines at the Saqqara Necropolis in Giza, a dramatic find of huge importance.

When they first opened the sarcophagi, before assembled media, the archeologists found mummified remains wrapped in burial cloth that bore hieroglyphic inscriptions in bright colors.

The site of the discovery was located south of Cairo, in Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

They have discovered 59 anthropoids painted coffin, and forty of them have been displayed to the press. Most of them had mummified remains which are believed to have been priests, top officials, and elites in ancient Egyptian society.

All of them have been buried and treated according to ancient Egypt’s complex burial rituals of the time, like removing their brains with an iron hook after death.

  • On October 3, in Saqqara necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, a team discovered a burial site and a sarcophagus around 2500 years old

  • The sarcophagi were opened during an event organized in front of the media, the in front of the media

  • Most of the 59 coffins found have contained mummified remains of priests, top officials, and elites

  • Around 40 coffins were put on display to the media

  • The site of the dramatic discovery is south of Cairo, in the sprawling burial ground of Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis

Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities and Tourism, Dr. Khaled El-Enany announced the discovery:

“Today I can say most of the discoveries have been made by Egyptian teams on Egyptian soil. This is something I am immensely proud of.”

He explained that two months prior to the discovery, the mission started re-excavating the site, and uncovered a burial shaft 36 feet deep, that housed 13 intact coffins.

Two more shafts were found later, 32 and 39 feet deep, and they were also filled with coffins.

  • Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities and Tourism, Dr. Khaled El-Enany said that the mission started two months ago

  • Initially, the team found a burial tunnel around 36 feet deep, with 13 intact coffins

  • Two more tunnels were discovered later, both filled with coffins too

  • All the coffins were intact, bearing the original colors on the outside

  • The discovery of the 13 coffins was made almost three weeks ago

  • It has believed that the coffins, sealed more than 2,500 years ago, date back to the Late Period of ancient Egypt, from about the sixth or seventh century BC

All of the coffins are well-preserved, bearing the original colors.

El-Enany said:

“My colleagues in the Supreme Council of Antiquities discovered burial shafts filled with wooden, sealed, and intact coffins. 

I am really impressed that Covid-19 did not stop them from digging to unveil more mystery and secrets about our great civilization.”

He added that they will transport the coffins to the soon-to-be-opened Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza plateau, to be displayed to the public.

It is said that they will be placed opposite a hall hosting 32 other sealed sarcophagi for priests from the 22nd dynasty, excavated last year in the southern city of Luxor.

The museum will host thousands of artifacts spanning numerous eras of the history of the ancient civilization, and its opening is scheduled for 2021.

Secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri, reported that according to the initial studies, the newly-discovered coffins belong to 26th Dynasty priests, top officials, and elites.

Apart from the coffins, the team also discovered a carved bronze statue of the god Nefertum, inlaid with precious stones, a collection of 28 statues of Ptah-Soker, the main god of Saqqara Necropolis, a collection of amulets, and an ushabti figurine.

The Saqqara necropolis has belonged to the ancient capital city of Memphis and is the site of the colossal rectangular-based step Pyramid of Djoser.

Researchers continue with their work, hoping to find out the exact history of the sarcophagi.

Archeological discoveries are vital for tourism in Egypt, but this sector has been dramatically affected by travel restrictions due to the pandemic.

Waziri added that they are “very happy about this discovery”, and Al-Anani stated that they believe there may be an unknown number of additional coffins at the site.

Therefore, he stated:

“So today is not the end of the discovery, I consider it the beginning of the big discovery.”

The minister explained that the coffins, which have been sealed over 2,500 years ago, date back to the Late Period of ancient Egypt, from about the sixth or seventh century BC.

In the last several years, excavations in Saqqara have discovered troves of artifacts, mummified birds, snakes, scarab beetles, and other animals.

Egypt has ramped up the promotion of its archeological finds in an attempt to revive the tourism industry, which has suffered a lot since 2011.

Now, this find is the first major announcement since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Egypt, when all archeological sites and museums were closed for about three months.

  • According to the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri, scientists have initially shown that the coffins belong to 26th Dynasty priests, top officials, and elites

  • In recent years, excavations in Saqqara have led to the excavation of troves of artifacts, mummified snakes, birds, scarab beetles, and other animals

  • This dramatic find is the first major announcement since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Egypt

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