Cairo: Egypt’s Tourism and Antiquities Ministry has unveiled 100 newly-discovered ancient coffins in the Saqqara necropolis of Giza near the capital Cairo.
“We announced today the discovery of 100 coloured sealed coffins from the Ptolemaic era… The coffins were discovered in the Saqqara necropolis of Giza,” Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany told Xinhua news agency on the site of the discovery.
The rule of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt lasted 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC.
The Minister added that many artefacts, funerary masks and statues were also found at the burial sites of the coffins, noting that all the 100 coffins are in very good condition of preservation.
“The works have not stopped yet at this site… Our missions will continue excavations, we might announce more discoveries from this site before the end of the year,” Anany revealed.
He stressed that Saqqara is an antiquity-rich area, adding that he is very proud that the discovery was made by an Egyptian archaeological mission.
The Minister said such discoveries help people know more about funeral practices in Saqqara necropolis during that period.
“This helps us know more about the mummification practices and technique in the area.”
The Minister explained that the coffins will be displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, as well as the Museum of the New Administrative Capital.
October 3, the Ministry announced the discovery of 59 well-preserved coffins also at Saqqara.
The new 100 coffins, as well as 40 statutes of ancient god Ptah, were found in three 12-metre deep shafts.
In addition, 20 wooden boxes of god Horus, two wooden statues of a person called “Phnomus”, a number of ‘ushabti’ statues, amulets and four gilded funeral masks were also found at the burial place.
During Saturday’s announcement, which was attended by large number of Egyptian officials, foreign ambassadors and public figures, Ministry experts opened a coffin with a mummy inside and conducted an X-Ray examination.
The X-Ray examination revealed that the mummy belonged to a male, giving an age range of 40-45 years. The check also showed that the man was 165-175 cm tall.
“This discovery is very important because of the number of the unveiled coffins,” Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri, who headed the Egyptian mission that made the discovery, told Xinhua.
He revealed that the coffins belong to high-ranking official and rich people.
“The coffins can tell that the mummies inside belonged to rich people,” Waziri explained.
“The materials, decorations and the mummification techniques revealed the prestigious status of the owners of the coffins.”