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Egypt discovers 14 ancient sarcophagi at Saqqara archaeological dig

  • Egypt’s
    antiquities ministry announced that 14 new sarcophagi were discovered in the Saqqara
    necropolis.
  • The
    coffins, found during an archaeological dig two days ago, had lain buried for 2
    500 years.
  • They
    were found at the burial spot where another 13 wooden sarcophagi were discovered
    last week.

Cairo
– Egypt’s antiquities ministry announced on Sunday the discovery of 14
sarcophagi in the Saqqara necropolis, south of Cairo, that had lain buried for
2 500 years.

The coffins were found two days
ago during an archaeological dig at the burial spot where another 13 wooden
sarcophagi had been discovered last week, the ministry said in a statement.

The vast Saqqara necropolis is
located around 16km south of the famed Giza pyramids. It is part of the ancient
city of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and hosts the colossal step
Pyramid of Djoser.

Photographs of the well-preserved
wooden coffins show ornate and intricate paintings, with maroon and blue lines,
as well as hieroglyphic pictorials.

The ministry said more
excavations had been planned, with the expectation that another trove of wooden
coffins would be found at the site.

Tourism sector battered

In a video distributed this month
announcing the discoveries, Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani
said the recent finds at Saqqara were “just the beginning”.

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Egypt has sought to promote
archaeological discoveries across the country in a bid to revive tourism, which
took a hit from restrictions on travel due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In July, authorities reopened the
Giza pyramids and other archaeological sites to the public after a three-month
closure and waived tourist visa fees to lure holidaymakers.

Egypt is also planning to unveil
its centrepiece project of the Grand Egyptian Museum in the coming months.

The tourism sector, battered by
years of political turmoil and terror attacks, had recovered to draw record
visitors, around 13.6 million last year, when the Covid-19 crisis struck.

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