Archaeologists Uncover 27 Coffins Buried For 2,500 Years In Egypt
Archaeologists have uncovered a total of 27 sarcophagi buried deep in a well in Egypt, marking one of the biggest discoveries of its kind.
For the past few weeks, archaeologists have been working at a sacred site in Saqqara, south of the capital, Cairo, where they found a burial shaft in a tomb complex home to thousands of coffins.
Earlier this month, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities revealed researchers had found 13 sealed coffins in the shaft, but their continued efforts have uncovered more than a dozen other sarcophagi.
Saqqara is believed to have previously served as the necropolis for Memphis, which was once the capital of ancient Egypt. It was an active burial ground for more than 3,000 years and is also home to the colossal, rectangular-based Step Pyramid of Djoser. The area is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The newly discovered coffins are believed to have been placed in the ground 2,500 years ago, though images shared by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities show they have been incredibly well preserved.
Intricate paintings are still visible on the wood surface of the coffins, and other artefacts in the well further demonstrate good craftsmanship and colourful decoration.
Geplaatst door Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities وزارة السياحة والآثار op Zaterdag 19 september 2020
In a statement on Saturday, September 19, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said all of the coffins found are completely closed, with initial studies suggesting they ‘haven’t been opened since they were buried.’
The burial shaft was found 11 metres (36 feet) below the ground, and after uncovering the initial 13 coffins it wasn’t long before archaeologists found the other 14. The statement added that Egypt’s Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani delayed announcing the find until he could visit the site himself.
The discovery was described as one of the ‘biggest and most important’ in recent years, and the largest find of ancient sarcophagi since the 19th century, Middle East Eye reports.
The minister thanked staff for working in difficult conditions down the well, where excavation work is still taking place as experts attempt to establish more details on the origins of the coffins.
Archaeologists believe the 27 coffins are not the only ones in the shaft, with others ‘likely to be found’ in the sides of the well.
The ministry said it hoped to reveal ‘more secrets’ about the discovery and the history of the coffins at a press conference in the coming days.
Officials in Egypt have sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to entice tourists back to the area following the coronavirus pandemic.
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