They Found 13 Ancient Coffins in One Well. Then, 14 More

Archaeologists unearth 2,500-year-old sarcophagi near Egypt's Step Pyramid of Djoser
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 22, 2020 8:36 AM CDT
Inside 2 Egyptian Wells, Dozens of Ancient Coffins
This September 2020 photo shows one of more than two dozen ancient coffins unearthed near the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, south of Cairo.   (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities via AP)

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed more than two dozen ancient coffins in a vast necropolis south of Cairo, an official said Monday. The sarcophagi have remained unopened since they were buried more than 2,500 years ago near the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, says Neveine el-Arif, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. She said 13 coffins were found earlier this month in a newly discovered, 36-foot-deep well, and that 14 more were found last week in another well, per the AP. Footage shared by the ministry showed colorful sarcophagi decorated with ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, as well as other artifacts the ministry said were found. The Saqqara plateau hosted at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials, ranging from the First Dynasty (2920BC to 2770BC) to the Coptic period (AD395 to AD642).

Archaeologists were still working to determine the origins of the coffins, el-Arif says, adding that more details and "secrets" would likely be announced next month. El-Arif notes further excavations are underway in the necropolis, and more coffins are expected to be found. Last year, archaeologists found a cache at Saqqara that included hundreds of mummified animals, birds, and crocodiles, as well as two mummified lion cubs. The Saqqara plateau is part of the necropolis of Egypt's ancient city of Memphis, the ruins of which were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1970s. In October 2019, archaeologists unearthed 30 ancient wooden coffins with inscriptions and paintings in the southern city of Luxor. The Luxor coffins were moved to be showcased at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which Egypt is building near the Pyramids of Giza.

(More discoveries stories.)

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