Technology & Science

2,500-year-old sarcophagi unearthed at Egypt's oldest pyramids

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered 27 coffins at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, a burial ground that is also home to one of the world's oldest pyramids, the ministry of tourism and antiquities said.

27 ornately painted coffins found stacked in two burial shafts in Saqqara

This Sept. 2020 photo provided by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities shows one of more than two dozen ancient coffins unearthed near the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, south of Cairo, Egypt. (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities via AP)

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered 27 coffins at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, a burial ground that is also home to one of the world's oldest pyramids, the ministry of tourism and antiquities said.

The wooden sarcophagi are ornately painted and covered in hieroglyphs, and were found stacked in two burial shafts, the ministry said in a statement.

They have not yet been opened, the ministry said.

Saqqara is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Mostafa al-Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities looks at one of the 2,500-year-old coffins discovered in a burial shaft in the desert near Saqqara necropolis in Egypt. (The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via REUTERS)

In March, Egypt reopened at the Saqqara site the Djoser's Step Pyramid, the first pyramid ever built, after a 14-year restoration costing nearly $8.8 million ($6.6 million US).

In July, Egypt restarted international flights and reopened major tourist attractions including the Great Pyramids of Giza after months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet despite reopenings and continued safety reassurances to international tourists, many concede that the key winter season starting in October is going to be tough, further straining the economy.

Other antiquities were unearthed in addition to the coffins. (Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities via AP)

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