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Archaeologists Unearth Almost 60 Sarcophagi Near Pyramid-Filled Region

Archaeologists have unearthed almost 60 ancient coffins that were buried close to the pyramids in a major discovery.

The researchers were excavating a region south of Cairo when they came across dozens of sarcophagi, most of which had human remains inside. Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister released a statement in which they revealed the 59 coffins were buried in three different wells about two and a half millennia ago.

Almost 60 Sarcophagi Unearthed

The Saggara plateau is a region where at least 11 pyramids are located, dating back to 2920 BC. The area is of major interest to archaeologists who described the discovery of the coffins and other artifacts as the beginning of something very important.

The finding of the almost 60 sarcophagi in three wells means that the Saggara plateau could have previously been home to even more pyramids.

The Egyptian Ministries of Antiquities said in a statement: “The coffins that were found are in good condition of preservation and are still preserving their original colors, indicating that initial studies on them indicated that they date back to the 26th family era and that they belong to a group of priests, senior statesmen and prominent personalities in society.”

[Image: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Egypt]
Also found and unearthed with the dozens of remains were 28 statues of Ptah-Seker, the primary god of the Saggara necropolis. The researchers also discovered a 35-centimeter (13.77-inch) statuette of the god Nefertem.

Egypt’s tourism and antiquities minister Khalid el-Anany said: “I consider this is the beginning of a big discovery.”

In another case, last month, scientists at the Institute of Pathology at the Academic Clinic Munich-Bogenhausen in Germany, were able to reconstruct an ancient Egyptian child’s face in 3D. The researchers managed to create a more accurate picture of the boy than the usual ‘mummy portrait’ of the child, which was placed on his coffin before he was buried.

Portraits Were Specific to Each Individual

As per the team, which was guided by Andreas Nerlich, the director of the Institute of Pathology at the Academic Clinic Munich-Bogenhausen in Germany, the 3D portrait showed the child having a much more ‘slender’ nasal bridge and mouth opening.

As it may have been usual at the time, the artist of the mummy portrait was probably trying to make the child look a bit older than he was in reality.

[Image: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Egypt]
The study that appears in the journal PLOS ONE reads: “In Graeco-Roman times in the Lower-Egyptian Fayoum region, a painted portrait was traditionally placed over the face of a deceased individual.”

According to the paper, these mummy portraits show substantial inter-individual diversity, implying that artists created those portraits separately for each individual. The reconstructed face showcased multiple similarities to the portrait, affirming the sketch’s specificity to the individual.

The paper further explains: “However, there are some differences between portrait and face. The portrait seems to show a slightly older individual, which may be due to artistic conventions of that period. In the present study, we provide the first scientific report of a facial reconstruction of an infantile Ancient Egyptian mummy from the Roman period that has been compared with its mummy portrait.”

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