Egypt discovers 27 ancient ‘well-preserved’ coffins

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Archaeologists discovered 27 coffins at the Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara this month. The sarcophagi are an estimated 2,500 years old and are in good condition.

Step Pyramid of Djoser

The coffins were found during a recent excavation in Saqqara, some 30 kilometers south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. The archaeologists had to work more than 11 meters underground for the find.

Earlier this month, 13 coffins were excavated at the site in Saqqara. The BBC cites the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, which reported on Saturday that 14 more have been added this week. According to experts, it is one of the greatest discoveries of historical coffins ever.

The sarcophagi, scientists say, have been virtually sealed since they were buried. Colorful paintings and hieroglyphs have been applied to the wooden coffins. In addition, other (smaller) artifacts were excavated.

De necropolis Saqqara is included on the United Nations World Heritage List and served as a burial site for over three thousand years. The necropolis belonged to the former capital Memphis. The famous step pyramid of Djoser is also located in Saqqara.

Egypt has given a lot of priority in recent years to making archaeological discoveries in order to attract more tourists to the country. The tourism industry was badly hit after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak and subsequent unrest in 2011.

Contradicting this was the announcement on Tuesday that Egypt plans to build two highways, right through the area where the famous pyramids and Saqqara are located. The project is part of President Abdel Al Sisi’s ambition to build a new capital as an alternative to the burgeoning city of Cairo.

The construction of the highways was halted in the 1990s after international protests. Historians fear the highways will have a permanent impact on the area.

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