An Egyptian archaeological mission uncovered an impressive collection of 59 intact and sealed coffins at Saqqara Necropolis south of Cairo. Sixty ambassadors and international media representatives flocked to the scene on Saturday to witness the announcement of the new discovery. On-site, almost 40 anthropoid painted coffins were placed in a large tent, while the rest of the coffins were put on display inside tombs.
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled El-Enaby said an Egyptian mission started re-excavating the site two months ago and succeeded to uncover a burial shaft 11 meters deep where there were more than 13 anthropoid intact and sealed coffins. More excavations revealed two more shafts, 10 and 12 meters deep, filled with a large number of intact and sealed coffins, wrote Ahram Online. The mission succeeded to unearth 59 coffins thus far. All the unearthed coffins are in a very good conservation condition and still bear their original colors.
“My colleagues in the Supreme Council of Antiquities discovered burial shafts filled with wooden, sealed, and intact coffins. I am really impressed that Covid-19 did not stop them from digging to unveil more mystery and secrets about our great civilization,” El-Enany said.
He added the coffins will be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum to be displayed in the hall adjacent to the one housing the Asasif Cachette.
Khalid el-Anany said at least 59 sealed sarcophagi, with mummies inside most of them, were found that had been buried in three wells more than 2,600 years ago. Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities said preliminary studies showed the coffins belong to 26th Dynasty priests, top officials, and elites. There are mummies in the majority of the coffins.
A collection of 28 statuettes of Ptah-Soker, the main god of Saqqara Necropolis, were found along with a beautifully carved 35cm tall bronze statuette of god Nefertum, inlaid with precious stones. On its base is written the name of its owner, Priest Badi-Amun. Collections of amulets and ushabti figurine were also unearthed.
According to el-Anany, there is an unknown number of coffins that have yet to be unearthed in the same area, and it is the beginning of a big discovery. The Saqqara plateau hosts at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials. There are also other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C.-2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395-642).