Photos: Archaeologists unveil 59 ancient sarcophagi near Egypt’s Saqqara

Adding to a flurry of archaeological finds in recent years, the Saqqara necropolis near the famed pyramids of Giza has unearthed fifty nine ornately decorated sarcophagi containing mummified remains bearing hieroglyphic inscriptions. The discovery of the coffins is the first major announcement since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Egypt, which led to the closure of museums and archaeological sites for around three months since late March. Dozens of statues were also found in the area including a bronze figurine depicting Nefertem, an ancient god of the lotus blossom.

Updated On Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST
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A sarcophagus is opened in front of a swarm of media persons at a newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, in Giza on October 3. Archaeologists in Egypt said on October 3 that they had found 59 well-preserved and sealed wooden coffins, with mummies inside most of them, over recent weeks that were buried more than 2,500 years ago. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST

A sarcophagus is opened in front of a swarm of media persons at a newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, in Giza on October 3. Archaeologists in Egypt said on October 3 that they had found 59 well-preserved and sealed wooden coffins, with mummies inside most of them, over recent weeks that were buried more than 2,500 years ago. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / REUTERS)

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The Pyramid of Djoser, or Step Pyramid in the Saqqara plateau on October 3. The dramatic find was unearthed south of Cairo in the sprawling burial ground of Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST

The Pyramid of Djoser, or Step Pyramid in the Saqqara plateau on October 3. The dramatic find was unearthed south of Cairo in the sprawling burial ground of Saqqara, the necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / REUTERS)

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Sarcophagi estimated to be around 2500 years old seen in a vault at the Saqqara necropolis on October 3. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told the AP that initial studies show the decorated coffins were made for priests, top officials and elites from the Pharaonic Late Period (664-525 B.C.). (Mahmoud Khaled / AP)
Updated on Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST

Sarcophagi estimated to be around 2500 years old seen in a vault at the Saqqara necropolis on October 3. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told the AP that initial studies show the decorated coffins were made for priests, top officials and elites from the Pharaonic Late Period (664-525 B.C.). (Mahmoud Khaled / AP)

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Waziri said archaeologists also found a total of 28 statuettes of Ptah-Soker the main god of the Saqqara necropolis, and this beautifully carved 35 cm tall bronze statuette of god Nefertem, inlaid with precious stones. The name of its owner, Priest Badi-Amun, is written on its base, he said. (Khaled Desouki / AFP)
Updated on Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST

Waziri said archaeologists also found a total of 28 statuettes of Ptah-Soker the main god of the Saqqara necropolis, and this beautifully carved 35 cm tall bronze statuette of god Nefertem, inlaid with precious stones. The name of its owner, Priest Badi-Amun, is written on its base, he said. (Khaled Desouki / AFP)

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A man looks at ornate sarcophagi being unveiled to the public near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis on October 3. The Saqqara plateau hosts at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials and other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C.-2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395 C.E.-642 C.E.). (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST

A man looks at ornate sarcophagi being unveiled to the public near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis on October 3. The Saqqara plateau hosts at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials and other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C.-2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395 C.E.-642 C.E.). (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / REUTERS)

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Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani (3L), and Mustafa Waziri (2R), Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, open a sarcophagus covered in hieroglyphics at the Saqqara necropolis on October 3. (Khaled Desouki / AFP)
Updated on Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST

Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani (3L), and Mustafa Waziri (2R), Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, open a sarcophagus covered in hieroglyphics at the Saqqara necropolis on October 3. (Khaled Desouki / AFP)

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Khaled El-Enaby, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities (R), and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (L), react after opening a sarcophagus. Egyptian antiquities officials had announced the discovery of the first batch coffins last month, when archaeologists found 13 of the containers in a newly discovered 11 metre deep well. (Mahmoud Khaled / AP)
Updated on Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST

Khaled El-Enaby, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities (R), and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (L), react after opening a sarcophagus. Egyptian antiquities officials had announced the discovery of the first batch coffins last month, when archaeologists found 13 of the containers in a newly discovered 11 metre deep well. (Mahmoud Khaled / AP)

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A sarcophagus is cleaned during a preview at Egypt's Saqqara necropolis on October 3. El-Anany told AP that the Saqqara coffins will join 30 ancient wooden coffins that were discovered earlier in the southern city of Luxor, and will be showcased at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which Egypt is building near the Giza Pyramids. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 05, 2020 11:31 AM IST

A sarcophagus is cleaned during a preview at Egypt's Saqqara necropolis on October 3. El-Anany told AP that the Saqqara coffins will join 30 ancient wooden coffins that were discovered earlier in the southern city of Luxor, and will be showcased at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which Egypt is building near the Giza Pyramids. (Mohamed Abd El Ghany / REUTERS)

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