Preliminary evidence showed that wooden sarcophagi were made for priests, high officials and the elite of the late Pharaonic period (664-525 BC).
Egyptian archaeologists have announced one of the largest finds in recent years: in the ancient necropolis in Sakkara, about 32 kilometers south of Cairo, they found 59 intact sarcophagi with mummies. According to representatives of the Ministry of Antiquities, the age of the remains is about 2,500 years.
Saqqara is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1970s. There is also the necropolis of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis and the 4650-year-old stepped pyramid of Djoser, the oldest surviving large stone building in the world.
The uniqueness of the find also lies in the fact that some of the sarcophagi have retained their original color. They decided to open one of them right during the presentation to the public and journalists – inside was a mummy, wrapped in burial cloth and decorated with bright hieroglyphic inscriptions.
Although scientists still have a lot of work to do before they can determine who rests in the found sarcophagi, experts believe that these were priests and representatives of the elite of the late Pharaonic period (664-525 BC). In addition, in two deep 11-meter wells, a total of 28 statues of Sokarma, the god of fertility and patron of the dead, were found, as well as a bronze statuette of the god Nefertum 35 centimeters high, inlaid with precious stones.
The find was also the first major discovery since the Covid-19 outbreak, which led to the closure of museums and archaeological sites. In addition, archaeologists hope that an uncountable number of sarcophagi with mummies can still rest next to the Djoser pyramid. “I think this is the beginning of a big discovery,” said Khaled El-Anani, head of the Ministry of Antiquities.