Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered almost 30 sarcophagi believed to have been buried for around 2,500 years, according to the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
The cache of closed coffins was unearthed from a 11-meter-deep (36 feet) burial shaft in Saqqara, a vast necropolis about 32 kilometers (20 miles) south of Cairo.
Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany and Mustafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, inspect one of the sarcophagi. Credit: Courtesy of Ministry of Antiquities-Egypt
Despite staying underground for millennia, the coffins have retained some of their original colors. Archaeologists also uncovered a collection of smaller artifacts at the site, according to a ministry statement.
In a press statement, El-Enany also thanked the excavation workers for operating in difficult conditions while adhering to new coronavirus-related safety measures.
“(It’s a) very exciting discovery,” he said in a video released by the ministry. “I think it’s only the beginning.”
One of the 27 new sarcophagi discovered at Saqqara, Egypt. Credit: Egypt Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/Facebook
All 27 of the sarcophagi unearthed from Saqqara appear to be completely sealed, with initial studies suggesting that they haven’t been opened since they were first buried, the ministry said. Authorities also suggested that more coffins and artifacts were likely buried in the same location.
Ancient Egyptian finds: A mummy that dates back to 1600 BCE was discovered in Luxor, in Egypt’s south, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has announced. Credit: From Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities
That burial shaft, which stretched 9 meters (30 feet) below ground, was found to contain an array of small artifacts, including figurines that were typically buried in Egyptian graves to aid the deceased in the afterlife. Also found in the tomb was a small wooden obelisk, about 40 centimeters tall, that had been painted with depictions of the Egyptian goddesses Isis and Nephthys, and the god Horus, one of the most renowned ancient Egyptian deities.
The sarcophagi were discovered in an 11-meter (36 feet) shaft in Saqqara. Credit: Courtesy of Ministry of Antiquities-Egypt