59 priest mummies and statue of surprising god unearthed in Egypt

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In a span of 1 month, the variety of sealed coffins discovered at an archaeological dig in Saqqara in Egypt has ballooned from 13 to 59 — and there may be extra to return — the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities mentioned in an announcement. 

The colourful coffins, which date again to Egypt’s twenty sixth dynasty (688 B.C. to 525 B.C.), had been discovered stacked collectively inside or close to three burial wells, the ministry mentioned on Oct. 3. The mummies are nonetheless preserved inside the coffins; and hieroglyphic writing on the coffins signifies that most of the mummies had been clergymen. 

Beside the coffins, they discovered the stays of 28 small statues. Some of the fascinating statues is an almost 14-inch-tall (35 centimeters) bronze statue of the god Nefertem, who’s proven carrying a headdress formed like a lotus blossom. The headdress is made from purple agate stone, turquoise and lapis lazuli, the ministry assertion mentioned. In historic Egyptian mythology, Nefertem was a god related to lotus flowers and was the son of Ptah, a creator god who was in style in Memphis, the primary capital of Egypt. (Saqqara served because the burial floor for Memphis.)

Associated: Picture gallery: Mummy evisceration strategies

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A close-up of one of the coffins discovered during the excavation at Saqqara. They date back more than 2,500 years ago to the 26th dynasty of Egypt.  59 priest mummies and statue of surprising god unearthed in Egypt missing image

An in depth-up of one of many coffins found in the course of the excavation at Saqqara. They date again greater than 2,500 years in the past to the twenty sixth dynasty of Egypt. (Picture credit score: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

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A close-up of one of the coffins discovered during the excavation at Saqqara. They date back more than 2,500 years ago to the 26th dynasty of Egypt.  59 priest mummies and statue of surprising god unearthed in Egypt missing image

An in depth-up of one of many coffins found in the course of the excavation at Saqqara. They date again greater than 2,500 years in the past to the twenty sixth dynasty of Egypt. (Picture credit score: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

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A photo showing some of the coffins that were discovered. The colors are remarkably well preserved despite the passage of time.  59 priest mummies and statue of surprising god unearthed in Egypt missing image

A photograph displaying among the coffins that had been found. The colours are remarkably properly preserved regardless of the passage of time. (Picture credit score: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

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Archaeologists opened this coffin revealing a mummy that has not seen the light of day in more than 2,500 years.  59 priest mummies and statue of surprising god unearthed in Egypt missing image

Archaeologists opened this coffin revealing a mummy that has not seen the sunshine of day in additional than 2,500 years. (Picture credit score: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

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This bronze statue of the god Nefertem was found near the coffins. It has a lotus-shaped headdress made of red agate stone, turquoise and lapis lazuli.  59 priest mummies and statue of surprising god unearthed in Egypt missing image

This bronze statue of the god Nefertem was discovered close to the coffins. It has a lotus-shaped headdress made from purple agate stone, turquoise and lapis lazuli. (Picture credit score: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

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HIeroglyphic writing indicates that many of the people buried in the coffins were priests.  59 priest mummies and statue of surprising god unearthed in Egypt missing image

HIeroglyphic writing signifies that most of the individuals buried within the coffins had been clergymen. (Picture credit score: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

One other small statue discovered close to the coffins depicts the god Ptah-Soker — an amalgamation of the gods Ptah and Soker. “Saqqara was known as Saqqara due to the god Soker. Within the Late Interval [the time the coffins date to], there was a mix of the god Ptah of Memphis with Soker,” Zahi Hawass, a former Egyptian minister of antiquities, mentioned in a video launched by the ministry. “That is distinctive. I’ve by no means seen this earlier than,” Hawass mentioned of the Ptah-Soker statue.

Quite a few shabti collectible figurines had been additionally discovered with the coffins. Historical Egyptians typically buried the useless with shabti collectible figurines, which they believed would work for the deceased within the afterlife. 

Egypt struggled to achieve and preserve its independence in the course of the twenty sixth dynasty. In the beginning of the dynasty the pharaohs had been vassals of Assyria nevertheless as Assyrian energy weakened the Egyptians had been capable of assert their political independence. Nevertheless the rise of Persia would spell the top of the dynasty and in 525 B.C. Egypt was conquered by the Persian empire. 

Work at Saqqara is being performed by an Egyptian workforce led by Mustafa Waziri, the secretary basic of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Work is ongoing and extra coffins and different artifacts are anticipated to be found quickly. 

Initially printed on Reside Science.

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