Egypt Discovers 13 Completely Sealed 2,500-Year-Old Coffins

by : Emily Brown on : 09 Sep 2020 13:14
Egypt Discovers 13 Completely Sealed 2,500-Year-Old CoffinsEgypt Discovers 13 Completely Sealed 2,500-Year-Old CoffinsMinistry of Tourism and Antiquities/Facebook

Egyptian authorities have discovered more than a dozen 2,500-year-old sealed wooden coffins in the desert necropolis of Saqqara. 

I have to say, I think it would be quite concerning if the coffins weren’t sealed, as that might indicate any number of questionable events, from being buried alive, resurrection or, more likely, some post-burial foul play from looters.


So it’s good that the coffins remained sealed, not only because it suggests the occupants were given a respectful and necessary burial, but because it means whatever is inside has been undisturbed for thousands of years.

Archaeologists discover 13 coffins in EgyptArchaeologists discover 13 coffins in EgyptMinistry of Tourism and Antiquities/Facebook

The coffins were found in a burial shaft located in a tomb complex home to thousands of coffins, but the new discovery is particularly noteworthy because they have remained intact for so long.

According to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the burial shaft was found 11 metres (36 feet) below the ground, where the coffins had been stacked on top of each other. Their excellent preservation means that some of the colours painted on the wood are still visible.

Painting visible on wooden coffinsPainting visible on wooden coffinsMinistry of Tourism and Antiquities/Facebook

A Facebook post from the ministry explained that preliminary studies indicated the coffins are ‘completely closed and haven’t opened since they were buried inside the well’. Alongside the 13 coffins, three sealed niches were also found, and authorities believe there are more coffins in the sides of the shaft.

The Facebook post continued:

A number of archaeological and wooden coffins [were] found inside, so far, the identity and positions of the owners of these coffins or their total number have not been identified, but these questions will be answered within the next few days through the continuation of excavations.

Wooden coffin found in EgyptWooden coffin found in EgyptMinistry of Tourism and Antiquities/Facebook

Saqqara, where the coffins were found, is believed to have previously served as the necropolis for Memphis, which was once the capital of ancient Egypt, Science Alert reports. The Egyptians buried their dead there for 3,000 years, making it a point of interest for archaeologists today.

Researchers have found simple burials thought to be for people from the middle or working class, as well as high ranking nobles and officials buried in extravagant tombs with mummified animals and grave goods.


Any grave goods discovered in the 13 coffins may give clues about who was buried and how important they were. The details will likely come to light in the coming days as the researchers continue their excavation work.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Science, Egypt, Now


Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/Facebook and 1 other
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  2. Science Alert

    Egyptian Authorities Have Discovered 13 Completely Sealed 2,500-Year-Old Coffins