Abu Dhabi: Egypt announced on Saturday the discovery of a collection of more than 59 intact sealed coffins dating back to 2,500 years ago, Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled Al Anany told a press conference.
He added the coffins were found at an archeological site in Saqqara necropolis in Giza.
Al Anany said, “We announced nearly three weeks ago that 13 intact and sealed coffins had been found, and then a week later we announced the discovery of another 14 coffins. Today we announce the discovery of 59 coffins” in total, in three shafts.
He emphasised that there are “an unknown number of coffins” in these shafts, which will be announced successively.
“Today is not the end of the disclosure, but the beginning of a major discovery,” Al Anany added.
The coffins, along with three sealed niches, were unearthed inside an 11-meter-deep shafts.
“The discovery marks the largest number of coffins found in one burial place since the discovery of the Asasif Cachette,” the minister said, referring to the discovery of 30 ancient coffins in October 2019 at Asasif cemetery in Upper Egypt’s Luxor Province.
“The discovery in Saqqara includes a wonderful collection of colored wooden coffins whose colors and inscriptions are still in a good condition despite the passage of 2,500 years,” Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said.
Excavation work continues
Waziri, who leads the Egyptian archeological mission in Saqqara said the exact number of the unearthed coffins, as well as the identity and titles of their owners, have not yet been determined, but they will be found out in the coming few days as the excavation work still continues.
“The mission continues excavation work on the site and it is expected to result in many other new discoveries of shafts, colored wooden coffins, and statues,” the SCA chief added.
Initial studies revealed that the coffins are completely sealed and have not been opened since they were buried inside the shaft, according to the ministry.
Egypt hopes that these new discoveries will enhance the chances of reviving the tourism sector, which has been hit several times since 2011.