Archaeologists discovered 30 ancient sarcophagi in Egypt with perfectly preserved mummies inside. Photos show the biggest coffin find in a century.

Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient painted coffin discovered at al-Asasif Necropolis in the Vally of Kings in Luxor, Egypt October 19, 2019.

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Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient painted coffin discovered at al-Asasif Necropolis in the Vally of Kings in Luxor, Egypt October 19, 2019.
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REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Archaeologists in Egypt just unearthed 30 ancient wooden coffins and opened them to reveal perfectly preserved mummies inside.

A dig team stumbled upon the sarcophagi in the Asasif necropolis of the ancient town of Thebes, the Egyptian government announced on Tuesday. Thebes was once the bustling royal capital of ancient Egypt. Digging in the area ⁠- around the modern-day city of Luxor ⁠- has led to a series of findings since efforts began in December 2017.

The coffins are estimated to be 3,000 years old, far older than most other ancient relics in the area. Still, they were found sealed and intact, featuring vibrant color inscriptions and well-preserved engravings.

Archaeologists opened the coffins at a ceremony on Saturday to reveal perfectly preserved mummies inside. The intricate engravings indicate that the mummies were once highly respected people, likely priests and children.

Here’s a look inside what Egyptian officials are calling the greatest coffin finding in a century.


Archaeologists unearthed 30 ancient coffins in a huge tomb in Egypt, the Egyptian government announced on Tuesday.

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Painted ancient coffins are seen at Al-Asasif necropolis, unveiled by Egyptian antiquities officials in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt, October 19, 2019.
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REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The wooden sarcophagi were found in the Asasif necropolis of the ancient town of West Thebes, on the west bank of the Nile. The find was “completely by accident,” archaeologist Zahi Hawass told Today.

Source: Today


“It is the first large human coffin cache ever discovered since the end of the 19th century,” the Egyptian Antiquities Minister, Khaled el-Anany, said during a ceremony in Luxor on Saturday.

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Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, inspects the coffins.
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Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Source: Reuters


The coffins were stacked in two layers under the ground. They are estimated to be 3,000 years old, dating back to the 22nd dynasty of Egyptian pharaohs.


Still, their colors and inscriptions are preserved “in full,” according to a translation of a press release announcing the finding.

Source: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, Reuters


Based on the engravings and inscriptions, archaeologists think the coffins were for children and priests ⁠— both men and women.

Source: Reuters


On Saturday they opened the sealed sarcophagi to reveal perfectly preserved mummies inside.

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REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

“This cache will be the most important discovery of 2019,” Hawass said.

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REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Source: Today


The coffins are part of a series of findings archaeologists have made since they began researching areas around the modern-day city of Luxor in December 2017.

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Luxor is often called “the world’s greatest open-air museum” for the ancient archaeological sites and relics throughout the city.
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Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Last week, the government announced the discovery of an ancient industrial district in the nearby Valley of the Monkeys, where craftsmen produced decorations for royal tombs.

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Dr. Zahi Hawass (right) led the archaeology mission that identified the workshops in the Valley of the Monkeys.
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Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Source: CNN


Archaeologists identified 30 different manufacturing workshops there, along with an ancient pottery kiln from the 18th Dynasty.

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Ancient pottery in the Valley of the Monkeys.
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Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

The coffins will be restored and displayed at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is due to open near the Giza pyramids next year.

Source: Reuters


Archaeologists expect to unearth more big discoveries in the area. “Before the end of this year, I will reveal [to] the world a royal tomb,” Hawass said.

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REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Source: Today