Saqqara’s Time Capsule: 13 Well-Preserved Coffins Unearthed, Offering a Glimpse into a 2500-Year-Old Era

The coffins, sealed more than 2,500 years ago, dating back to the Late Period of ancient Egypt, from about the sixth or seventh century BC.

An unknown number of additional coffins may still lie buried there, the tourism and antiquities minister, Khaled al-Anani, said at the site, near the 4,700-year-old pyramid of Djoser.

The majority of coffins housed mummified remains which initial research suggests would have been priests, top officials, and elites in ancient Egyptian society.

All of whom would have likely been subject to ancient Egypt’s complex burial rituals after they died, including having their brains removed with an iron hook.

In addition to the coffins, a carved bronze statue of the god Nefertum inlaid with precious stones, was discovered, as was a collection of 28 statues of Ptah-Soker, the main god of Saqqara. Collections of amulets and an ushabti figurine were also found.

The Egyptian archaeological mission behind the discovery began digging in 2018. Prior discoveries included a cache of mummified animals and the well-preserved tomb of a fifth dynasty royal priest called “Wahtye.”

The mission will continue opening the coffins and studying their contents before their eventual display at the Grand Egyptian Museum, expected to open next year.

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