After several months of excavation work, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said on Saturday that an ancient cemetery had been discovered near the city of Minya, south of Cairo.
The large necropolis is located 2.5 miles north of the Tuna al-Gabal area, a vast archaeological site on the edge of the western desert. The area is known to house ancient catacombs from the Pharaonic Late Period and the Ptolemaic dynasty.
Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany said the large necropolis, which is more than 2,000 years old, contains a gold mask, 40 sarcophagi (ornate stone-carved coffins) and about 1,000 statues — several of them depicting ancient priests, pottery, jewelry and other artifacts.
The minister told reporters the uncovering was the beginning of what he thought would be a much bigger discovery.
Five years to finish
He hailed the initial find as “important, as it explains several aspects of the life of the ancient Egyptians,” adding that excavators would need at least five years to complete the project.
Mostafa Waziri, head of the archaeological mission, said eight tombs have been uncovered so far and he expects more will be discovered soon.
Four well-preserved alabaster canopic jars were singled out for mention, inscribed with hieroglyphics and designed to hold the mummified internal organs of their owner, who would have been a high priest of the ancient Egyptian deity Thoth, the god of the moon and wisdom.
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SOURCE: Deutsche Welle