Egypt Uncovers 30 Ancient Coffins with Mummies Inside

The discovery is the country's largest in over 100 years

A photograph taken on October 19, 2019 shows sarchophagi displayed in front of Hatshepsut Temple in Egypt's valley of the Kings in Luxor - Egypt revealed today a rare trove of 30 ancient wooden coffins that have been well-preserved over millennia in the archaeologically rich Valley of the Kings in Luxor.(Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)
A photograph taken on October 19, 2019 shows sarchophagi displayed in front of Hatshepsut Temple in Egypt's valley of the Kings in Luxor - Egypt revealed today a rare trove of 30 ancient wooden coffins that have been well-preserved over millennia in the archaeologically rich Valley of the Kings in Luxor.(Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / October 20, 2019 8:40 am

Egyptian authorities announced Saturday (Oct. 19) that archaeologists in Luxor made a thrilling discovery, uncovering 30 ancient coffins with mummies inside them. It’s the country’s biggest find in over 100 years, and it’s made all the more significant by the fact that it’s the first of its kind to be found by an Egyptian team rather than a foreign-led dig.

“The last one was in 1891, [led by] foreigners. 1881, [also] foreigners. But … 2019 is an Egyptian discovery,” Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters. “This is an indescribable feeling, I swear to God.”

The 3000-year-old coffins, which were buried in Al-Asasif Cemetery, are said to be “exceptionally well-preserved, exceptionally well-colored.” They reportedly contain the remains of men, women and two children. They were found sealed, stacked on top of each other, and arranged in two rows approximately three feet below the sand.

Waziri said the coffins were likely buried in that manner to hide them from tomb robbers. They contain intricate carvings and designs, including hieroglyphics, scenes from the Book of the Dead, images of Egyptian gods, and in some cases, the names of the dead.

“This will enrich our knowledge as Egyptologists about the belief of the afterlife,” archaeologist Zahi  Hawass said.

The mummies and coffins will be restored before being added to an exhibit at the Grand Egyptian Museum that will open at the end of 2020.

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