An Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered a large collection of 2,500-year-old sealed sarcophagi and figurines at the Saqqara Necropolis in Giza.
Opening one of the ornately decorated sarcophagi for the first time before assembled media, the team revealed mummified remains wrapped in burial cloth that bore hieroglyphic inscriptions in bright colours.
The dramatic find was unearthed south of Cairo in the sprawling burial ground of Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
On the site – around 10 miles south-east of the Pyramids of Giza – 59 anthropoid painted coffins have been discovered so far. Around 40 were displayed to the press.
The majority of coffins housed mummified remains which initial research suggests would have been priests, top officials and elites in ancient Egyptian society.
All of whom would have likely been subject to ancient Egypt’s complex burial rituals after they died, including having their brains removed with an iron hook.
The discovery was announced on Friday by Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities and Tourism, Dr. Khaled El-Enany.
‘Today I can say most of the discoveries have been made by Egyptian teams on Egyptian soil. This is something I am immensely proud of,’ El-Enany said.
He said the mission had started re-excavating the site two months ago, and uncovered a burial shaft 36 feet deep. Inside, they found 13 intact coffins.
The team continued their excavations, discovering two more shafts – 32 and 39 feet deep – also filled with coffins.