CAIRO – Egyptian antiquities officials said that a "storeroom for mummies" has been discovered in one of the oldest and most famous historical sites in Egypt. On Feb. 9, Dr Zahi Hawass, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt said 30 mummies had been found at the ancient site of Saqqara, a large burial ground with pyramids and royal tombs dating back to the Old Kingdom in Egypt.
Speaking to the Al-Arabiya channel, Hawass added that the recently-discovered mummies were found in a burial ground that dates back 2600 years to 640 BC, which places the mummies in the era of the 26th Dynasty in Egypt, the last independent kingdom before a series of foreign invasions beginning with the Persians swept over the empire.
Egyptian antiquities officials say that most of the mummies are in a poor state of preservation. The search for the identities of the mummies and the reason for the existence of such a large number of mummies in one tomb represents a challenge for archaeologists. Of the 30 mummies that were discovered, eight were placed in sarcophagi while the rest were placed in niches along the walls of the tomb.
Hawass said, "It is certainly rare to find such a large number of mummies in one location." The discovery comes after the discovery of two nearby tombs at the end of last year. Antiquities officials believe that the three tombs at a site dating back 4,300 years were built for court officials.
The excavation work taking place in the Saqqara region on the outskirts of Cairo has been going on for 150 years and has yielded dozens of pyramids and tombs dating from the Old Kingdom up to the Roman era.
[Al-Arabiya Channel, AP, BBC]