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Egyptian officials discover 40 ancient mummies

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Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered ancient burial chambers that can shed light on the lives of middle class ancients dating back more than 2,000 years.
USA TODAY

Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered ancient burial chambers that can shed light on the lives of middle class ancients dating back more than 2,000 years, the country’s Supreme Council of Antiquities announced.

The tomb containing more than 40 mummies was discovered in Minya, a desert province 150 miles south of Cairo. About a dozen of the remains were children, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the council, told Al Jazeera.

The discovery was one of the largest and most important in recent times because it helps detail the day-to-day lives of normal ancients, Waziri said. He added that the find was made by Egyptians. The vast majority of previous discoveries were made by Europeans and Americans.

Waziri said the mummies appeared to be in good condition and the mummification method was sophisticated, indicating the deceased had held prestigious positions and  were probably upper-middle class.

“We have not found names written in hieroglyphics,” he said, so the identities are not known. He estimated that the remains date back to the Ptolemaic era, a period of about 300 years that ended with the death of Cleopatra and Roman rule in 30 BC.

More: ‘One of a kind’ royal tomb is 4,400 years old, Egypt says

The mummies were discovered inside four 30-foot deep burial chambers in the Tuna el-Gebel archaeological site. Some were wrapped in linen or decorated with Demotic handwriting, a form of cursive hieroglyphic writing used by ordinary people in the region from the early 7th century BC until the 5th century AD.

A year ago, the antiquities ministry announced the discovery of eight tombs that contain about 40 coffins of Pharaonic priests and more than 1,000 statues near the site. The tombs were full of jewelery, potteries and jars. 

In December, Egyptian officials said they discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb linked to the fifth dynasty of pharoahs. That find occurred in Saqqara, west of Cairo.

Minister of Tourism Rania al-Mashat told Egypt Times the discoveries were an important message to the whole world that Egypt “has it all.” 

 

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