Archaeologists unearth 250 coffins with mummies from Egypt's Saqqara

Archaeologists unearth 250 coffins with mummies from Egypt's Saqqara

The artifacts date back at least 2,500 years and have been unearthed at the famed necropolis of Saqqara near Cairo.

Archaeologists have come across a treasure trove of ancient Egyptian artifacts which have been released to the world for the first time. The artifacts date back at least 2,500 years and have been unearthed at the famed necropolis of Saqqara near Cairo.

Archaeologists unearth 250 coffins with mummies from Egypt's Saqqara
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The artifacts include statues of the gods Anubis, Amun, Min, Osiris, Isis, Nefertum, Bastet, and Hathor along with a headless statue of the architect Imhotep, who built the Saqqara pyramid. Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said that the 250 coffins, 150 bronze statues, and other objects dated to the Late Period, about 500 BC.

Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the artifacts also have bronze statues of ancient deities and bronze vessels used in rituals of Isis, the goddess of fertility in ancient Egyptian mythology. A headless bronze statue of Imhotep, the chief architect of Pharaoh Djoser who ruled ancient Egypt between 2630 B.C. and 2611 B.C was also displayed.

The painted wooden coffins were found intact in burial shafts and contained mummies, amulets, and wooden boxes. Wooden statues of Nephthys and Isis from an earlier period were also found, both with gilded faces.

One coffin contained a well-preserved papyrus written in hieroglyphs, perhaps verses of the Book of the Dead, and was sent to the laboratory of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for study, said Mostafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. A collection of cosmetics was found, including kohl containers, as well as bracelets and earrings.

The Saqqara site is part of a sprawling necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis that includes the Giza Pyramids and the smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur, and Abu Ruwaysh. The ruins of Memphis was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in the 1970s.

The artifacts will be transferred for a permanent exhibit at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, a mega project still under construction near the famed Giza Pyramids, just outside Cairo.

Egypt has been heavily promoting recent archaeological finds, hoping to attract more tourists to the country. Its tourist sector, a major source of foreign currency, suffered from years of political turmoil and violence following the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The sector has recently started to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, only to be hit again by the effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Along with Russia, Ukraine is a major source of tourists visiting Egypt.

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