Within the space of one month, there have been up to 59 of sealed coffins unearthed by a group of archaeologists in Saqqara, Egypt the initial number of these mummies was about 13 and the number quickly grew to 59 and the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities believes there are much more to be seen.
The coffins dates back to Egypt’s 26th dynasty (688 B.C. to 525 B.C.) all which were found stacked up together within or near three burial wells according to the Ministry last week, October 3rd.
The interesting thing is that the mummies are still preserved within the coffins and hieroglyphic writing on the coffins showed that many of the mummies were priests. The researchers also found remains of 28 small statues among which is a 14-inch-tall bronze stature of the god Nefertem who is shown wearing a headdress shaped like a lotus blossom. The headdress he was wearing is made of red agate stone, turquoise and lapis lazull according to the Ministry.
The ancient Egypt believed Nefertem to being a god associated with lotus flowers and was the son of Ptah, a creator who was popular in Memphis, the first capital of Egypt. (Saqqara served as the burial ground for Memphis.)
Then the researchers also found another smaller statue near the coffins which depicts the god Ptah-Soker which is an amalgamation of the gods Ptah and Soker. “Saqqara was called Saqqara because of the god Soker. In the Late Period [the time the coffins date to], there was a combination of the god Ptah of Memphis with Soker,” Zahi Hawass, a former Egyptian minister of antiquities, said in a video released by the ministry. “This is unique. I have never seen this before,” Hawass said of the Ptah-Soker statue.
Numerous shabti figurines were also found with the coffins. Ancient Egyptians often buried the dead with shabti figurines, which they believed would work for the deceased in the afterlife.
Back in the 26th dynasty, the ancient Egypt tried to gain and maintain its independence and at the start of the dynasty, the pharaohs were vassals of Assyria but the their influence weakened the Egyptians who were unable to really assert their political independence.
But then came the Persian empire which soon lead to the end of the dynasty and in 525 B.C., Egypt was conquered again by the Persian empire.
The research work being conducted at Saqqara is being conducted by an Egyptian team that is led by Mustafa Waziri who is the secretary of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. Work is ongoing and more coffins and other artifacts are expected to be discovered soon.