Egypt reveal ‘mummified’ coffins dating back 2,500 years ago

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Photo: Reuters

Egypt has unveiled dozens of coffins, believed to be traced back to the 26th dynasty nearly 2,500 years ago. Archeologists say the coffins belonged to priests and clerks, some of which were discovered in the vast Saqqara necropolis just days ago.

Found at the UNESCO world heritage site south of Cairo, the 59 coffins were buried in three 10-12-meter shafts along with 28 statues of the ancient Egyptian God Seker, one of the most important funerary deities.

Mostafa al-Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said the coffins were laid in “perfect condition” due to a protective seal that preserved them from chemical reactions.

The Egyptian archaeological mission behind the discovery had been active since 2018 and previously unveiled a cache of mummified animals and a well-preserved tomb of a fifth dynasty royal priest called ‘Wahtye’ in the area.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said “I have witnessed the opening of one of the coffins … the mummy seems as if it was mummified yesterday.”

The site, near the 4,700-year-old date back to the Late Period of ancient Egypt, from about the sixth or seventh century BC.

Excavations in Saqqara have in recent years unearthed several interesting artefacts as well as mummified snakes, birds, scarab beetles and other animals.

The mission will continue opening the coffins and studying their contents before their eventual display at the Grand Egyptian Museum, expected to open next year. The museum will host thousands of artefacts, spanning multiple eras of Egypt’s history.

The North-African country is hoping that its vast history and the evidence thereof will boost its struggling tourism sector which has been suffering since the military overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and has further worsened with the coronavirus pandemic.

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October 27, 2021
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