Archaeologists Discover 54 Coffins In Ancient Egyptian Tomb
Archaeologists have uncovered more than 50 wooden coffins and mummies dating back more than 3,000 years in an ancient temple near Cairo, Egypt.
The new treasures were found at the Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo, which makes up part of the necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis.
With cooperation between the Antiquities Ministry and the Zahi Hawass Centre at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, archaeologists uncovered 22 burial wells containing 54 coffins dating back to the New Kingdom, which ruled Egypt between about 1570 BC and 1069 BC.
Many of the coffins displayed scenes of Gods that were worshipped at the time, with the discovery marking the first time coffins dating back 3,000 years have been found in the Saqqara region.
The find has helped archaeologists determine that the Saqqara area was used for burial during the New Kingdom as well as the Late Period.
Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s former antiquities minister, revealed experts also found a four-metre long papyrus that included texts of the Book of the Dead; a collection of spells aimed at directing the dead through ancient Egypt’s underworld.
The burial wells, located at depths of 40 feet, also contained ancient games, one of which is similar to modern chess, as well as statues of Anubis and wooden funerary masks.
Discussing the find, Hawass said the discoveries will ‘rewrite the history of Saqqara and the New Kingdom’.
As archaeologists undertook the work close to the Pyramid of Teti, they also unearthed the temple of Queen Neit, wife of King Teti, who was the first king of the Sixth Dynasty that ruled Egypt from 2323 BC until 2150 BC.
A statement released on Facebook explained:
These discoveries will rewrite the history of this region, especially during the 18th and 19th dynasties of the New Kingdom, during which King Teti was worshiped, and the citizens at that time were buried around his pyramid.
The mission confirmed that the entrance to the Saqqara region in the New Kingdom was through this area.
The mission discovered the funerary temple of Queen [Neit], the wife of King Teti, part of which was already uncovered in the years prior.
Attached to Queen Neit’s temple were the three mud-brick warehouses, thought to have stored temple provisions, offerings and tools for the queen’s tomb.
Hawass described the find as the most important archaeological discovery this year, reaffirming Saqqara as an important tourist and cultural destination.
Excavations at the site are still ongoing, with Hawass telling reporters that 70% of the new area is still to be explored.
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CreditsDr. Zahi Hawass/Facebook
Dr. Zahi Hawass/Facebook