Ancient Egypt is one of the most intriguing civilizations in history. For that reason, whenever a new discovery is made, the world pays attention. Recently, Egyptian archaeologists discovered nearly sixty sarcophagi. On October third, Egypt opened the coffins, which have been sealed shut for more than two and a half thousand years.
Egypt Opens 59 Coffins
Archaeologists discovered the 59 coffins in a burial shaft in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara. Experts believe that this area formerly served as the necropolis for Memphis, the former capital of Egypt. Officials say that they expect archaeologists to find tens more sarcophagi in the area.
Antiquities minister Khaled El-Anany says that the coffins are more than 2 500 years old, and date back to the 26th dynasty. He believes that this discovery is only the beginning and that there will be more to come.
The archaeologists found most of the sarcophagi intact, painted, and inscribed with hieroglyphics. Upon opening the coffins, El-Anany says that two of the mummies bore the name and title of the family.
The coffins were stacked on top of each other, and were buried in three shafts that were eleven, twelve, and thirteen meters deep (36, 39, and 42 feet deep). Archaeologists also found other artifacts in the burial shaft, including a 35-centimeter-tall bronze statuette of the god Nefertum, as well as a statue of the main Saqqara god, Ptah-Soker. This discovery is even larger than last year’s major find. In 2019, researchers found thirty wooden coffins in the city of Luxor, which was the country’s biggest discovery in years .
COVID-19 Setbacks Shutdowns due to Egypt’s COVID-19 outbreak caused a setback initially, but that did not prevent the team from making this discovery. “We haven’t had that chance to announce a discovery since March because of the COVID-19 restrictions, but we have battled such conditions and have worked harder since August to dig and uncover more secrets of this great civilization,” El-Anany said . The coffins are set to be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum near the Giza Pyramids, and the museum will open next year. Egypt only just opened its tourist attractions in July after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A Proud Moment for Egypt El-Anany is very proud of the team of archaeologists, and in Egypt as a whole for the discovery. “My colleagues in the Supreme Council of Antiquities discovered burial shafts filled with wooden, sealed and intact coffins.” he said. “I am really impressed that Covid-19 did not stop them from digging to unveil more mystery and secrets about our great civilisation.”  Researchers in Egypt will continue to unearth treasures from their country’s past. The world will be watching to see what else is hidden beneath our feet.