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The ancient Egyptian burial in Saqqara yields another 100 coffins, some with mummies



Written by Harry Clark-Ezidio, CNNLondon

Archaeologists in Egypt have found at least 100 perfectly preserved ancient coffins, some of which contain mummies and 40 statues in a vast pharaonic necropolis south of the capital Cairo.

Intricate painted drawings can still be seen on sealed sarcophagi that were buried more than 2,500 years ago at a funeral. shafts, along with gold masks and amulets.

Wooden sarcophagi displayed during the discovery.

Wooden sarcophagi displayed during the discovery. Credit: AHMED HASAN / AFP / Getty Images

Egyptian antiquities said the coffins on display at the Saqqara necropolis on Saturday may have been so well preserved because they were of higher quality and belonged to “higher class” people.

“So this is something that makes this discovery special – the quantity and quality of the coffins,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, comparing the findings to a group of coffins found at the site a month earlier.

Archaeologists opened one of the excavated coffins, and the mummy inside was X-rayed to show how it had been preserved.

Waziri told reporters that the X-ray showed that the mummy was a man between 5 feet 4 and 5 feet 7 inches tall, who had been in good health all his life and most likely died between the ages of 40 and 45.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anani said the artifacts, including statues and mummies, would be moved to several museums in Egypt.

El-Anani said archaeologists were continuing to excavate the site and that the discovery would not be the last, adding that a new archeological find at the Saqqara necropolis would be unveiled later this year.

The finds will be moved to several museums in Egypt.

The finds will be moved to several museums in Egypt. Credit: AHMED HASAN / AFP / Getty Images

The announcement marks the latest in a series of discoveries in Saqqara that have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

It dates from the Egyptian first dynasty around 3150 BC, the vast cemetery once served the royal capital of Memphis, and is the home of the oldest surviving pyramid in the country.

In October, researchers found a large cache of unopened sarcophagi at the site. A month earlier, they announced they had found 13 coffins stacked on top of each other in a well. And back in April, they found another batch of mummies, rediscovered in the shaft.
With global travel hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and tourism, which are an integral part of its economy, Egypt is keen to draw visitors back to its archeological sites.
According to research and consulting company Oxford Business Group, the Egyptian tourism industry – which employs more than one million people – has contributed more than 9% of the country’s GDP in 2019.

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