Culture

Archeologists Unearth 59 Ancient Coffins of Priests and Clerks in Egypt

The coffins will be displayed in a museum next year.

  • On Saturday, October 3, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister announced that archeologists found dozens of coffins in the UNESCO heritage site, the Saqqara necropolis.
  • The sarcophagi belonged to priests and clerks from the 26th century, buried in the vast ancient cemetery approximately 2,600 years ago.
  • The archeologists who unearthed the tombs likewise uncovered other perfectly preserved artifacts and 28 statuettes of Ptah-Soker and one statuette of Nefertum.

In a news conference held at the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, Khalid el-Anany announced that archeologists in Egypt unearthed at least 59 sealed sarcophagi in the vast necropolis south of Cairo.

Archeologists found the ancient coffins in three wells. Most of them contain mummies  believed to have been buried more than 2,600 years ago.

Khalid el-Anany, Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister, thinks there are probably more undiscovered tombs in the said area.
Photo:AP/ Mahmoud
Hundreds of ancient officials are entombed in this UNESCO world heritage site. It also hosts at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, in the Saqqara plateau.
Photo :AP/ Mahmoud

Other sites ranging between the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C.-2770 B.C.) and Coptic period (395-642) are there as well.

According to Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, initial studies on the decorated sarcophagi revealed that they were for priests, high-ranking officials, and elites from 664-525 BC.
Photo :AP/ Mahmoud
They put the coffins on display during the news conference, one of which was opened to reveal the mummy inside.
Photo : AP/ Mahmoud

Several foreign diplomats attended the announcement ceremony, The Washington Post wrote.

They likewise uncovered aproximately 28 statuettes of the main deity of the Saqqara necropolis, Ptah-Soker.
Photo: AP/ Mahmoud

Furthermore, they recovered a carved 35cm bronze statuette of Nefertum, embedded with precious stones. Inscribed on its base is the name Badi-Amun, the priest who owned the idol.

Archeologists discovered the first batch of sarcophagi last month. There were 13 of them in an 11 meter-deep or 36 feet well.

The Saqqara sarcophagi and the 30 ancient, wooden coffins discovered in the southern city of Luxor in October will be on display at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which the country is building near the Giza Pyramids. The museum is expected to open in 2021, according to Reuters.

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