Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a number of artifacts in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, including 250 complete mummies in painted wooden sarcophagi and more than 100 bronze statues of ancient Egyptian gods.
According to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, the artifacts date back to Egypt's End Period about 2500 years ago.
The treasure was found in the "Cemetery of Ancient Animals" of Sakkara, a temple complex outside of Cairo once called the "Bubasteion". He referred to the ancient Egyptian goddess Bast or Bastet, who was worshiped there in the form of a cat.
The finds were announced by Egyptian authorities on Monday (May 31st), and they lined up mummies, statues and other artifacts in front of Saqqara's Djoser Step Pyramid for the announcement.
The necropolis at Saqqara is near the edge of a desert plateau about 15,5 miles (25 kilometers) south of Cairo. The ancient burial site has been hosting extensive excavations by Egyptian archaeologists since 2018. It's the fifth major announcement of artifacts found there, including 2020 mummies found in 59, and there are still many years of work to be done.
Information About Egyptian Culture
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Achaemenid Persians dominated Egypt as a province of their empire during the Late Period, but Egyptian culture flourished and many temples were created under their rule (opens in new tab).
Recently, around 150 bronze statues of ancient Egyptian gods were discovered; these include Anubis, the god of the dead, often depicted with a jackal's head; Osiris, king of the dead; Amon-Min, a fertility god often depicted with an upright phallus; Bastet's beautiful son Nefertem; Isis, wife of Osiris and goddess of fertility; and Hathor was considered an immensely popular goddess.
Archaeologists also found two painted wooden statues of the goddesses Isis and Nephthys, or Nephthys, Isis' sister. Both goddesses are depicted as the guardians of a coffin, and the two statues each have a face made of layers of gold leaf.
"They [one] sat [next to a coffin], one by their head and the other by their feet, in a position known as 'mourners' or 'weepers,'" Al Saidi said.
In the same coffin, archaeologists discovered a roll of papyrus or reed paper; It has yet to be opened, but archaeologists believe it may have been up to 10 meters long and may contain portions of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a ritual text intended to guide a deceased person's journey through the afterlife. It has now been transferred to a laboratory for further analysis.
According to Egypt's ministry of antiquities, objects from the Late Egyptian Period have been discovered for the first time at Saqqara.
Djoser's Step Pyramid, for example, was built around 2700 BC. It was during the Third Dynasty of Egypt and is thought to be the oldest complete stone structure ever discovered.
According to National Geographic, Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, found the unique tomb of a priest and official named “Wahtye” who lived around 2500 BC during the early stages of excavations at Saqqara. During the fifth dynasty.
According to Waziri, three tombs from Egypt's New Kingdom period (1570 BC – 1069 BC) and four tombs from the Old Kingdom period (2575-2150 BC) were also unearthed.
Archaeologists have also discovered the façade of an Old Kingdom burial building, as well as thousands of wooden figurines, wooden cat statues, and even mummified cats to it.