Egypt unveils treasures found at ancient site

A sarcophagus is displayed during the official announcement of the discovery by an Egyptian archaeological mission of a new trove of treasures at Egypt's Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, on January 17, 2021.

Egypt unveiled ancient treasures found at the Saqqara archaeological site south of Cairo, including sarcophagi over 3,000 years old, a discovery that “rewrites history,” according to famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass.

Saqqara is a vast necropolis of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to more than a dozen pyramids, ancient monasteries, and animal burial sites.

A team headed by Hawass made the finds near the pyramid of King Teti, the first pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. More than 50 wooden sarcophagi dating to the New Kingdom (16th century BC to 11th century BC) were found in a burial shaft.

Objects including human skulls and bones were displayed to the media on Sunday, while excavations of the site are ongoing. The artefacts unearthed by the team so far represent only 30 percent of what is expected and that 70 percent still remains buried under the sands of Saqqara.

Egypt's tourism and antiquities ministry had announced Saturday "major discoveries" at Saqqara, where there has been a flurry of excavations in recent years.

The team had also discovered the funerary temple of Queen Nearit, the wife of King Teti, which had already been partially discovered in recent years. Three warehouses made of bricks were also found on the site and were used to store ritual offerings to the deities. The Saqqara site is also home to the step pyramid of Djoser, one of the earliest built in ancient Egypt.

Later this year, and after several delays, authorities hope to inaugurate a new museum -- the Grand Egyptian Museum -- at the Giza plateau, home to the famed Giza pyramids.

Egypt hopes archaeological discoveries will spur tourism, a sector which has suffered multiple shocks, from a 2011 uprising to today's coronavirus pandemic.

(Source: Reuters) 


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