Dozens of mummies unearthed from ancient Egyptian burial ground Saqqara

February 23rd, 2009 - 5:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Cairo, February 23 (ANI): The Supreme Council of Antiquities, part of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, has announced the discovery of an intact wooden and limestone sarcophagi housing dozens of mummies inside the Sixth-Dynasty tomb of Sennedjem in the Saqqara necropolis.
Members of the public were given the first glimpse of the latest discovery of ancient Egyptian treasure to be found in Saqqara on Wednesday.
SCA Secretary-General Zahi Hawass revealed that two weeks ago, during a routine excavation work at the mastaba of the Sixth-Dynasty lector-priest Sennedjem, their archaeologists stumbled upon a cache of mummies of the 26th Dynasty, Egypt’’s last independent Kingdom before it was overrun by a succession of foreign conquerors.
He revealed that the mummies, most of which had deteriorated to little more than skeletons, were found inside an 11-metre deep burial shaft excavated inside the Sennedjem mastaba.
He said that one of the newly-discovered, 2,600- year-old wooden coffins was still sealed, untouched since the days of the Pharaohs.
When the archaeologists opened the coffin, according to him, they found a body mummified in the style typical of the period, covered with linen and resin.
Hawass said that the finely carved inscription on the coffin showed that the mummy belonged to a man named Padi-Heri, the son of Djehuty-Sesh-Nub and the grandson of Iru-Ru.
“It is a very important discovery as it shows much of the sprawling site at the Saqqara necropolis, home of the world’’s oldest standing step pyramid and the mastabas of the Memphis rulers, has yet to be unearthed. It is a storeroom for mummies. I am overwhelmed with mummies,” the Al-Ahram Weekly quoted Hawass as saying.
The mummy of a dog was also found opposite to mummies of children, prompting speculation that the burial shaft held the remains of a large family, including the family pet, with the richer and more prominent members buried in the sarcophagi.
“The owner of the dog could have asked that his faithful companion be mummified and accompany him into the afterlife,” Hawass siad.
Hawass said that only 30 per cent of Egypt’’s monuments had been uncovered, with the rest still under the sand. (ANI)

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