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Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara


Egypt announced Saturday the discovery of an ancient treasure trove of more than a 100 intact sarcophagi, dating back more than 2,500 years ago, the largest such find this year.


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Ahmed Hasan/AFP

The sealed wooden coffins, unveiled on site amid much fanfare, belonged to top officials of the Late Period and the Ptolemaic period of ancient Egypt.




They were found in three burial shafts at depths of 12 metres (40 feet) in the sweeping Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo.


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Ahmed Hasan/AFP

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Ahmed Hasan/AFP

Archaeologists opened one coffin to reveal a mummy wrapped in a burial shroud adorned with brightly coloured hieroglyphic pictorials.


Saqqara, home to more than a dozen pyramids, ancient monasteries, and animals burial sites, is a vast necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

"Saqqara has yet to reveal all of its contents. It is a treasure," Antiquities and Tourism Minister Khaled al-Anani said at the unveiling ceremony.




"Excavations are still underway. Whenever we empty a burial shaft of sarcophagi, we find an entrance to another."


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Ahmed Hasan/AFP

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Ahmed Hasan/AFP

The latest find 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.


More than 40 statues of ancient deities and funerary masks were also discovered, the minister said.


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Another two wooden statues were found in the tomb belonging to an ancient judge of the 6th dynasty, according to Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.




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 said.


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

"The beauty of the statue ... is seen in the intricacy of its eyebrows, moustache, and eyelashes. It is absolutely beautiful and wonderful," he added.


The sarcophagi will be distributed among several museums in Egypt including the yet-to-opened Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) at the Giza plateau.


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Ahmed Hasan/AFP

Situated near the famed Giza pyramids, GEM is planned to be inaugurated in 2021 after multiple delays.


Anani attributed the flurry of discoveries in Saqqara to extensive excavation works in recent years.


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Egypt. Ministry of Antiquities

Another discovery in the vast Saqqara necropolis is expected to be announced in December or early 2021.




Archaeologists also hope to find an ancient workshop for manufacturing wooden coffins for mummies.


Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Egypt finds treasure trove of over 100 sarcophagi at Saqqara
Credit: Ahmed Hasan/AFP

Waziri explained that ancient Egyptians used to buy their coffins at this workshop.


"We expect it to be somewhere close to the coffin's burial shafts," Waziri said.




Egypt hopes archaeological discoveries will spur tourism, a sector which has suffered multiple shocks ever since a 2011 uprising up until today's coronavirus pandemic.


Authors: Sally Kandil & Menna Zaki | Source: AFP [November 14, 2020]



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1 comment :

  1. Europeans haven't eaten all mummies after all. Yam Yam. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete


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