After teasing a major new discovery in Saqqara, Egyptian archeologists have revealed 100 newly unearthed coffins in a near-perfectly preserved state alongside 40 gilded statues previously unseen by modern humans. The artefacts are believed to be nearly 2,500 years old and were found in an Egyptian necropolis of the Djoser Pyramid in Saqqara. Current estimates date the coffins to around 320BC, but they could even be as old as 30BC.
The coffins found have been described as “well-gilded, well-painted and well-decorated” by Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in a media conference. Many of the coffins found have mummies inside, reported to be the remains of the rich, elite and highly ranked in ancient Egyptian society.
Archeologists undertook x-ray examination of the mummies to examine the structure of the bodies and concluded, due to their placement and preservation, many of the mummies found were likely some form of royalty or upper class member, which explains why they were so well-preserved.
The discovery is unique not just because of its volume, but also the level of detail still remaining on the coffins. Many of them are ornately decorated, colourful and feature gold gilding or other accents that mark them out as unique.
You can view an inside look at the coffins, courtesy of the Smithsonian Channel via Twitter here:
BREAKING: 100 ancient Egyptian coffins have been discovered at #Saqqara in 3 recently-discovered burial shafts. Here's an inside look.
— Smithsonian Channel (@SmithsonianChan) November 14, 2020
Saqqara has become a hub for ancient discoveries over the last three years, with teams of archeologists currently working to explore its necropolises in depth. Earlier this year, more than 50 ancient coffins as well as statues of Egyptian deities and animals were discovered in the region, including a pristine mummy belonging to a religious priest.
The coffins will be removed from their resting places and distributed amongst local museums in Cairo including the Grand Egyptian Museum near the Giza Pyramids — but the excitement won’t end there. el-Anany told reporters there was another important announcement coming out of Saqqara later this year, but its exact nature is still a mystery. We’ll have to stay tuned to discover more about these ancient mysteries.