LUXOR, Egypt – Colorful wooden coffins with paintings and inscriptions recently discovered by a team of Egyptian archaeologists were opened on Saturday to reveal perfectly preserved mummies.
The 30 sealed coffins were accidentally found under a hill Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council for Antiquities in Egypt, told NBC News in the Asasif necropolis on the west bank of the Nile
: "I am very glad that we have found this discovery with Egyptian hands, "Waziri said. 19659002] The archaeologists conducted an independent excavation when someone noticed the face of a coffin, Waziri explained. They dug further to discover coffins stacked a few feet below the sand in two layers.
The coffins are estimated to be 3,000 years old and belonged to men, women, and two children who were most likely priests. [1
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has described the coffins as one of the "greatest and most important" discoveries of recent years.
On Saturday, archeologists in gloves carefully opened two of the coffins to wrap perfect-quality mummies – a man and a woman – in cloth. One had a piece of skull visible.
The gender of the mummies can be recognized by the shape of their hands. Waziri said women were buried with open hands while men had closed their hands.
The Asasif necropolis is located in the ancient city of West Thebes. Most of the tombs in the necropolis date back to the late period, 332 BC. Ended, but the newly discovered coffins should be much older.
The ornate decorations on the coffins could probably compensate for the fact that this was not the case buried in proper tombs, said Waziri. The similarity in design suggests that they were all made in the same workshop.
The coffins were well preserved because they were so well hidden from grave robbers, Waziri said.
Coffins found in graves are often damaged by termites, but since they were buried in the sand, they were completely intact.
The 20 coffins that were pulled from the site will be exhibited in the Grand Egyptian Museum, which will open in Giza next year.
Molly Hunter and Charlene Gubash reports from Luxor, Egypt, and Linda Givetash from London.