Egypt breakthrough: Hopes raised for major royal discovery after 27 sarcophagi found

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

They were found inside a newly-discovered well at a sacred site in Saqqara, south of the capital, Cairo. 13 sarcophagi had already been uncovered, but a further 14 have now been confirmed by officials who say it is the largest haul of its kind. Images released show colourfully painted well-preserved wooden coffins, believed to be untouched since they were buried.

Excavation work is continuing at the site as experts attempt to establish more details on the mummies inside, but Egypt’s Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said he hoped to reveal “more secrets” at a press conference in the coming days.

And Egyptologist Dr Naunton detailed what he expects to come in the future.

He said: “Saqqara is obviously a big cemetery site and has lots of tombs – it’s a group of tombs at the site which are built into the cliffside in the area of what used to be the temple of the cat goddess Bastet.

“They have been excavating there for a while and have discovered more tombs – some animal burials – and now they are carrying on.

“The likelihood is that they are going to find more human and animal burials with associated grave goods.

“It’s very likely that there will be previously unknown tombs and they will contain the burials of one or more individual people.

“We already know it has been used for animal burials as well, the hope would be that one or more of the new tombs will be intact.”

Dr Naunton explained what the archaeologists are likely to find during their season of digging.

He added: “You would expect to be seeing pretty well-preserved coffins, mummies and that kind of thing – but who knows what else.

“Some of the tombs that have already been discovered in that area were cut as early as the 18th and 19th Dynasty, but they were re-used.

“So, I think you would expect the same kind of thing – potentially 18th and 19th Dynasty and then re-used from the 26th Dynasty onwards.”

The area is slightly northeast of the Step Pyramid, built by Imhotep – the chancellor in the third dynasty to the pharaoh Djoser, whose body has never been found.

Although not born a royal, Imhotep is recorded to have become a respected member of the Pharaoh’s family and 2,000 years after his death, his status had risen to that of a god in medicine and healing.

But, while Dr Naunton says the chances of finding Imhotep during their search is limited, they might stumble across some vital indications as to whether he is nearby.

DONT MISS
End of the world: How archaeologist discovered ‘real Maayan doomsday’ [VIDEO]
Mayan DISCOVERY: How find in ancient city ‘reveals creation story’ [CLAIM]
Egypt: How ‘greatest archaeological find of all time’ stunned expert [REVEALED]

He continued: “There could possibly be some clues to Imhotep’s tomb found there.

“The animal burial stuff is quite interesting because by the time he was worshipped as a god – in the 26th Dynasty onwards – one of the ways you could make an offering was through a mummified animal.

“In the case of Imhotep, it would be through baboons or ibis birds.

“So if they were to find in that area evidence of lots of offerings of that kind, then that does raise the possibility that the tomb is in that area.”

Dr Naunton then went on to pinpoint where else he thinks archaeologists should dig.

He said: “I suspect it’s a little way off to the north because we don’t have any evidence of tombs from the time of Imhotep in that area.

“Also in his time, the way that people were buried was in the ground – on top of which huge mastabas were built.

“That requires flat ground, and it’s not until the New Kingdom really that you get tombs cut into the rock.

“The kind of tombs this team is digging up right now would appear too late for Imhotep.”

Source: Read Full Article