Archaeologists in Egypt have just uncovered one of the biggest finds of recent years with the discovery of 13 human coffins that have remained sealed and unseen by human eyes for over 2,500 years.
The coffins were found stacked on top of each other at the bottom of an 11-meter-deep (36 feet) shaft, entered via a precarious looking rope, in the desert necropolis of Saqqara. Many of the coffins appear to be ornately decorated and still contain their original coloring. Best of all, the team believes it's very likely that more coffins will be discovered in the burial shaft.
“Very exciting discovery. I think this is only the beginning,” Dr Khaled Al-Anani, Egypt's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, said in a video announcing the discovery.
The archaeological site of Saqqara is a vast burial ground in Giza that once served as the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara is home to an incredible selection of pyramids, temples, tombs, and other archaeological delights dating as far back as 5,000 years from the First Dynasty of Egypt. The identity of the people buried currently remains unknown, but that hopes to be revealed by further excavations and research over the following weeks.
The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery at the weekend, adding it will soon be releasing a number of promotional videos on social media to show off some of their latest discoveries.
“The discovery marks the largest number of coffins found in one burial place since the discovery of the Assef's environment [a translation of Al-Asasif Cachett],” the statement said. This is referring to a discovery made last year when archaeologists found 30 intact, sealed, and painted coffins in the southern city of Luxor.
Egypt reopened its many museums and archaeological sites on September 1. Like many countries around the world, it's keen to get the tourism industry back on track after several months of social distancing measures.
"It was a disaster for us, like the whole world," Dr Al-Anani said, reports BBC News. "We lost around $1bn per month and we're estimating that we'll still lose a lot of money during the coming weeks and months."
The area’s history is a key component of Egypt’s tourism industry and is one of the leading sources of income for the country. The past decade has seen a fair amount of political unrest in this part of the world, most notably the Arab Spring, which has put some travelers off visiting in recent years. With much of this instability now over, Egypt is pulling out all the stops to promote its rich heritage in the hopes of winning back much-needed tourism to the area.