More intact wooden coffins unearthed in Egypt's Saqqara necropolis - Ancient Egypt - Heritage

Clay Curtis
September 22, 2020

The sarcophagi have remained unopened since they were buried more than 2,500 years ago near the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, said Neveine el-Arif, a spokeswomen for the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed more than two dozen ancient coffins in a vast necropolis south of Cairo, an official said Monday.

The most recently found ornately carved and decorated sarcophagi were unearthed during an ongoing archaeological dig near Egypt's ancient capital, Memphis - a UNESCO World Heritage site and the same place that 13 pristine specimens were discovered last week.

According to archaeologists working at the site, the coffins have lain undisturbed for 2,500 years, despite being located just 16km (10 miles) south of the world-famous Giza pyramids.

It was at this famous royal necropolis and tourist center that in 2018 Ancient Origins announced the discovery of a the 4,400-year-old "Tomb of Wahty", where 365 ushabti statues, representing the days of the solar year, were found with wooden obelisks surrounding a statue of the god Ptah.

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Although having been discovered earlier, the ministry delayed announcing the news until Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani could visit the dig site himself to inspect the sarcophagi.

The Saqqara plateau hosted at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials, ranging from the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C. -2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395-642). The coffins contained the mummified remains of men, women and children.

One of the ushabti figures pulled from the tomb.

More than two millennia ago, 27 Egyptians were laid to rest in Saqqara, an ancient city of the dead.

The discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission headed by Mustafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities at the Saqqara archaeological site. However, big announcements such as the discovery of "27 highly-preserved well-coffins" go a long, long way towards encouraging a return of archaeological tourists, who are right now slowly dusting off their boots, polishing their lenses, and booking flights again.

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