Egypt unearths new trove of ancient coffins

Walaa Abu Steit – Cairo

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli (left) inspecting one of the newly discovered wooden sarcophagi in Saqqara.

Egyptian authorities are preparing to announce details related to the latest discovery of dozens of coffins in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, around 20 miles west of Egyptian capital Cairo. The unearthed coffins are 2,500 years old, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.

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Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli was shown by local television channels being lowered into a shaft to inspect dozens of ancient sarcophagi found in Saqqara, home to Egypt’s oldest living pyramid.

The same footage showed Madbouli and the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khalid al-Anani gently inspecting items within the newly discovered trove. The statues are colored and gilded. They have never been opened before, the ministry said, adding that this cache of unopened sarcophagi was discovered by Egyptian archeologists working in the area.

Madbouli said Egypt boasts a new generation of archeologists who have made many important discoveries over the last few years. The unearthing of the new coffins comes only weeks after Egyptian archeologists discovered 59 coffins in Saqqara. Archeologists believe the newly-unearthed coffins contain senior statesmen and priests from the 26th dynasty, which ruled Egypt from 664 B.C. to 525 B.C.

Al-Anani expressed pride in the fact that the coffins were discovered by Egyptian archeologists. “This compounds the latest inauguration of an unprecedented number of ancient sites”, al-Anani said. He revealed that his ministry would open five new museums before the end of 2020.

A press conference, al-Anani noted, would be held in the coming weeks to announce details of the new discovery in Saqqara. He also said that the conference would be held after the documentation and filming of the discovery were completed.

Supreme Antiquities Council Head Mustafa Waziri (middle) showing the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism one of the newly-unearthed items

Madbouli was keen on filming himself inside one of the three shafts to thank Tourism and Antiquities Ministry officials. He said he felt proud of the ancient Egyptian civilization, with which he is personally obsessed.

 

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Egypt unearths new trove of ancient coffins

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