Egypt: 27 ancient coffins unearthed inside well at Saqqara

Archaeologists in Egypt have found 27 ancient sarcophagi buried more than 2,500 years ago – the largest discovery of its kind.

They were discovered down an 11-metre (36ft) deep well at a sacred burial site in Saqqara, south of the capital, Cairo.

A total of 13 coffins were found earlier this month, the unearthing of a further 14 was announced by officials at the weekend.

Experts have said this discovery is one of the largest of its kind.

Images released by Egypt‘s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities show the well-preserved wooden coffins which are painted colourfully, alongside other smaller artefacts.

In a statement released at the weekend, the ministry said: “Initial studies indicate that these coffins are completely closed and haven’t been opened since they were buried.”

It continued: “More of them are likely to be found inside the well’s side where a number of archaeological hook-ups were found.”

The statement added that identification processes will be taking place, and “more secrets” will be shared in a news conference in the coming days.

Despite being discovered earlier, the ministry delayed any announcement until antiquities minister, Khaled al-Anani, was able to visit the site, where he thanked staff work working in difficult conditions.

Saqqara was an active burial ground for more than 3,000 years – it served as the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt.

In 1979, it was recognised as a designated Unesco World Heritage Site.

Promotion of archaeological finds in Egypt have become more prominent over recent years in an attempt to revive the country’s tourism industry.

In 2019, a total of 20 ancient coffins were found in the Egyptian city of Luxor.

In the same year, mummified animals and cat statues were found near a pyramid site in Saqqara.

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