News ‘An indescribable feeling’: Archaeologists unearth dozens of ancient coffins in vast necropolis
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‘An indescribable feeling’: Archaeologists unearth dozens of ancient coffins in vast necropolis

egypt
One of the coffins discovered at the ancient burial shaft south of Cairo. Photo: AAP
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Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered dozens of coffins at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara south of Cairo, a burial ground that is also home to one of the world’s oldest pyramids.

A Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said the wooden sarcophagi, which have been buried for 2500 years near the Step Pyramid of Djoser, are ornately painted and covered in hieroglyphs.

Neveine el-Arif said 13 coffins were found earlier this month in a newly discovered, 11 metre-deep well, and that 14 more were found last week in another well.

The coffins, all located in two burial shafts, have not yet been opened.

Saqqara is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Ms el-Arif said archaeologists were still working to determine the origins of the coffins, adding that more details and “secrets” would likely be announced next month.

In March, Egypt re-opened at the Saqqara site the Djoser’s Step Pyramid – the first pyramid ever built – after a 14-year restoration costing nearly $US6.6 million ($9.1 million).

egypt
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, holds a statue discovered at an ancient burial shaft at the necropolis in Saqqara. Photo: AAP

In July, Egypt restarted international flights and reopened major tourist attractions including the Great Pyramids of Giza after months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet despite re-openings and continued safety reassurances to international tourists, many concede that the key winter season starting in October is going to be tough, further straining the economy.

-with agencies