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Thursday, 26 November 2020

In Photos: Egypt announces the biggest archaeological discovery in 2020 at Saqqara Necropolis

'We have discovered only one percent of the antiquities buried in the Saqqara Necropolis,' Antiquities Minister El-Enany said, pointing out that many other discoveries will follow

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 14 Nov 2020
Saqqara
The secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziry answers journalists' questions at the announcement. AP
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A collection of 100 intact 26th Dynasty coffins were unearthed in Egypt's Saqqara Necropolis, in addition to golden funerary masks and a collection of 40 wooden statues of Saqqara goddess Ptah Soker, some of which are gilded.

Excavations conducted by the Egyptian archaeological mission working in the Saqqara Necropolis resulted in the discovery of three 12- metre deep shafts, closed for more than 2,500 years, containing 100 intact, sealed and painted anthropoid coffins.

During the announcement, a CT- scan was conducted on a mummy in one of the coffins. It was revealed that the deceased died in his 40s, was 175 cm tall, healthy, and did not suffer any fatal diseases.

Bassem Gehad, who conducted the scan, said the deceased was perfectly mummified with his arms crossed on his chest, in a position known in ancient Egypt as the Osiris shape.

“It is a great discovery in 2020, but it is not the last one,” said khaled El-Enany, the minister of tourism and antiquities.

"We have discovered only one per cent of the antiquities buried in the Saqqara Necropolis," he added, pointing out that many other discoveries will follow.

El-Enany stated a discovery made by renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass will be announced soon in Saqqara.

He explained the coffins will be distributed among the Cairo Museum in Tahrir, the Grand Egyptian Museum, and the National Museum of Egyptian civilization.

The Egyptian archaeological mission made throughout the past years a number of important discoveries in Saqqara, the last of which was in October when the mission unearthed 59 painted coffins with mummies in a good condition of top officials and priests from the 26th Dynasty. 

A short film released by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to coincide with the discovery described the Saqqara Necropolis as a “sacred place where the rich and powerful wanted to be buried."

The video showed many statues of animals, figurines, as well as intact and sealed coffins.

“That is what we were expecting; the coffins were well-sealed, no chemical reaction, no air inside, nothing, that is why it is all in perfect condition of preservation,” the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziry, explained in the film.

Saqqara
Sarcophaguses that are around 2500 years old, from the newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, are seen during a presentation in Giza, Egypt November 14, 2020. REUTERS

Saqqara
Sarcophaguses that are around 2500 years old, from the newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, are seen during a presentation in Giza, Egypt November 14, 2020. REUTERS

Saqqara
People look at ancient sarcophagus more than 2500 years old discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Egyptian antiquities officials on Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues south of Cairo. AP

Saqqara
Archaeologists work on an artifact, around 2,500 years old, from the newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, during a presentation in Giza, Egypt November 14, 2020. REUTERS

Saqqara
An archaeologist works on an artifact, around 2,500 years old, from the newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, during a presentation in Giza, Egypt November 14, 2020. REUTERS

Saqqara
An archaeologist works on an a sarcophagus, around 2,500 years old, from the newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, during a presentation in Giza, Egypt November 14, 2020. REUTERS

Saqqara
Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities speaks about an ancient sarcophagus more than 2500 years old discovered in a vast necropolis, as archeologists carry out an X‐ray visualizing the structures of the ancient mummy, in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Egyptian antiquities officials on Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues south of Cairo. AP

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