Egyptian antiquities officials have announced the discovery of almost 100 ancient coffins – some with mummies inside them – and around 40 golden statues in south Cairo.
The remains, interred in colourful, sealed sarcophagi, were buried more than 2,500 years ago in the Pharaonic necropolis.
They have been put on display in a makeshift exhibit by the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara.
Archaeologists discovered a well-preserved mummy wrapped in cloth – which they later X-rayed to find out how the body had been conserved.
Tourism and antiquities minister Khaled el-Anany said the items date back to the Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled Egypt for 300 years – from around 320BC to around 30BC and the Late Period (664-332BC).
He added that the artefacts would be moved to at least three museums in Cairo – including the Grand Egyptian Museum which is currently being built near the Giza pyramids.
He also mentioned another discovery would be revealed at the Saqqara necropolis later this year.
Saqqara has been at the centre of other recent discoveries.
Since September, antiquities experts have found around 140 sealed sarcophagi, featuring mummies inside almost all of them.
Archaeologists discovered other “shafts full of coffins, well-gilded, well-painted, well-decorated”, said Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The Saqqara site is part of the necropolis located at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis – which includes the famous Giza Pyramids.
Egyptian authorities have put archaeological discoveries on display in the hope of boosting the country’s tourism industry, which has been decimated since the 2011 uprising which resulted in the removal of Hosni Mubarak.
It has also been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
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