Friday, September 22, 2023
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Uncovering national treasure

CAIRO (AP) – Egypt on Monday displayed a trove of ancient artefacts dating back 2,500 years that the country’s antiquities authorities said were recently unearthed at the famed necropolis of Saqqara near Cairo.

The artefacts were showcased at a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, 24 kilometres southwest of the Egyptian capital.

According to Head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri, the find includes 250 painted sarcophagi with well-preserved mummies inside, as well as 150 bronze statues of ancient deities and bronze vessels used in rituals of Isis, the goddess of fertility in ancient Egyptian mythology, all from the Late Period, about 500 BC.

A headless bronze statue of Imhotep, the chief architect of Pharaoh Djoser who ruled ancient Egypt between 2630 BC and 2611 BC was also displayed.

The artefacts will be transferred for a permanent exhibit at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, a mega project still under construction near the famed Giza Pyramids, just outside Cairo.

The Saqqara site is part of a sprawling necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis that includes the Giza Pyramids and the smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh. The ruins of Memphis were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1970s.

Egypt has been heavily promoting recent archaeological finds, hoping to attract more tourists to the country.

Journalists view painted coffins with well-preserved mummies inside, displayed at a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara. PHOTOS: AP

A reporter films a headless bronze statue of Imhotep
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