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Egypt discovers 14 ancient sarcophagi at Saqqara necropolis

CAIRO — Egypt’s antiquities ministry announces the discovery of 14 sarcophagi in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo that had lain buried for 2,500 years.

The coffins were found two days ago during an archaeological dig at the burial spot where another 13 wooden sarcophagi had been discovered last week, the ministry says in a statement.

The vast Saqqara necropolis is located around 16 kilometers (10 miles) south of the famed Giza pyramids. It is part of the ancient city of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and hosts the colossal step Pyramid of Djoser.

Photographs of the well-preserved wooden coffins show ornate and intricate paintings, with maroon and blue lines, as well as hieroglyphic pictorials.

The ministry says more excavations have been planned, with the expectation that another trove of wooden coffins would be found at the site.

In a video distributed this month announcing the discoveries, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said the recent finds at Saqqara were “just the beginning.”

Egypt has sought to promote archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism, which took a hit from restrictions on travel due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

— AFP

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