Dozens of 2,500 year-old coffins unveiled in Egypt

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Dozens of 2,500-year-old coffins found in the vast Saqqara necropolis in Egypt went on display Saturday.

The 59 coffins belonging to Egyptian priests and clerks from the 26th dynasty were discovered in August at the site south of Cairo. They were buried in three 30- to 40-foot shafts, along with 28 statues of the ancient Egyptian God Seker, one of the most important funerary deities, Reuters reported.

The coffins were in perfect condition thanks to a protective seal that preserved them from chemical reactions over the centuries, said Mostafa al-Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Initial studies show that the decorated coffins were made for priests, top officials and elites from the Pharaonic Late Period (664-525 B.C.).

One was opened in front of reporters to reveal the mummy inside, The Associated Press reported.

The Egyptian archaeological mission behind the discovery began digging in 2018. Prior discoveries included a cache of mummified animals and the well-preserved tomb of a fifth dynasty royal priest called “Wahtye.”

The Saqqara plateau hosts at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials and other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C.-2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395-642).

The mission will continue opening the coffins and studying their contents before their eventual display at the Grand Egyptian Museum, expected to open next year.