A TOMB containing 50 Egyptian mummies, including children, has been discovered near Cairo and it dates back 2,400 years.
The mummies, 12 of which were of children, were discovered inside four burial chambers in the Tuna El-Gebel archaeological site in Minya, south of Cairo, yesterday. Some of the mummies were found wrapped in linen while others were placed in stone coffins or wooden sarcophagi. The chambers, which were nine metres deep and cut out of rock, belonged to a middle-class family who probably lived during the Ptolemaic period (305-30BC), archaeologists believe.
Their identities are still unknown – although experts say the mummification method suggest they held important or prestigious positions.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the team who made the discovery “had not found names written in hieroglyphics”.
Pottery, papyri and colourful mummy cases were also unearthed.
Visitors, including ambassadors from several countries, gathered at the discovery site where 40 of the mummies were exhibited during the announcement ceremony.
The archaeological finding was the first of 2019 and came about through a joint mission with the Research Centre for Archaeological Studies of Minya University.
Last December archeologists discovered a “one of a kind” 4,400-year-old tomb of a high priest near Cairo.
The “exceptionally well-preserved” find was uncovered at the Saqqara archaeological site south of Cairo and contained hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs.
Khaled al-Anani, from Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, said the tomb’s walls were covered with decorative scenes showing the royal purification priest Wahtye with his mother, wife and other relatives.
The head of the excavation mission, Mostafa Waziri, revealed the tomb was “untouched and unlooted” and described the find as “one of a kind in the last decades”.