By now, you’ve most likely heard about how Indiana Jones inspired an entire generation to become archaeologists. The movie served as a catalyst for many successful archaeological missions over the years. But, we can’t talk about archaeology without associating it with Egypt. After all, it holds so many majestic relics in its sandy depths. In early September 2020, archaeologists discovered a cache of Egyptian coffins at a burial well near the Step Pyramid of Djoser. These coffins were impressively intact despite being around 2,600 years old. So, naturally this intrigued the researchers and that curiosity led them to open one coffin that they had recovered.
For the momentous event, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity invited dignitaries and members of the press. And when the researchers lifted the coffin’s lid, they found a perfectly preserved mummy inside. The mummy’s ornate burial linen clearly stood the test of time. Its inscriptions and colorful details are still very vivid. In a statement, Dr. Khaled Al-Anani, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, said:
“Once we open this coffin, you will find that this coffin is well-sealed and very closed. Today we announce the largest archeological discovery in 2020 accompanied by foreign ambassadors from more than 43 countries and 200 media representatives to introduce to the whole world a new part of our great civilization.”
Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities discovered 59 Egyptian coffins at Saqqara
According to the Ministry’s official press release, they found the coffins in three separate caches. Their first mission yielded 13 coffins. Then, they found 14 more shortly after. “The mission has revealed three burial wells at different depths ranging from 10 to 12 meters in which 59 closed wooden coffins [were] lined up,” the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity wrote on their official press release. And according to their preliminary studies, the researchers found that those in the cache may have been priests, government officials and members of the Egyptian elite back in the day.
In addition to the coffins, the team also managed to recover 28 statues of Ptah-Soker, the main god of Saqqara and even a bronze statue of Nefertum! The bronze Nefertum statue once belonged to ‘Priest Badi-Amun’, as it was engraved on the statue. They will relocate the 59 coffins to the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, which will open its doors to the public in 2021. Thousands of recovered artefacts by different archaeological missions throughout the years will be on display at the museum, including the 59 coffins recovered from Saqqara!
They unsealed a coffin to find a perfectly preserved mummy
The excavation mission continues
Recovering 59 coffins is certainly a great milestone. But it appears that the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities won’t be stopping there. In fact, they have announced that they are currently digging deeper into the burial well. And they are promising some more exciting news in the coming days. Before ending his speech at the ceremony, Dr. Al-Anani promised the public that,
“We found layers of coffins that will be announced later. Today is not the end of the discovery; I consider it to be the beginning of the big discovery.”
Witness the momentous opening of a 2,600 year old coffin
Honoured to be invited by the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities HE Khaled El Anany to Saqqara for the announcement that a new tomb of mummies has been discovered. I saw one being opened for the first time in 2600 years! Truly amazing! @TourismandAntiq @MFATNZ ???? pic.twitter.com/5oLfAM7zAV
— Greg Lewis ???? (@NZinEgypt) October 3, 2020