An Egyptian archaelogical laborer is seen walking near deities in a newly discovered tomb at Saqqara necropolis, on Saturday. (AFP)
CAIRO – 8 September 2020: Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities keeps announcing new archaeological discoveries based on the work of the Egyptian archaeological missions in various sites in the country.
This comes within the framework of the state's support to conduct archaeological excavations and preserve the ancient Egyptian civilization.
Each new discovery carries new details about an era of ancient Egypt, which helps to attract tourists to visit those charming archaeological sites across the country.
The most prominent archaeological discoveries over 20 years:
Valley of Golden Mummies:
The story dates back to the beginning of 1999. Renowned archaeologist Zahi Hawass and his archaeological expedition discovered in Bahariya Oasis in the Western Desert, 385 km from Cairo, one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the 20th century that amazed the whole world, the Valley of the Golden Mummies.
The discovery unveiled a huge number of golden mummies, which convinced Hawass that this valley, a large spatial area that takes a long time of organized excavation work, is definitely filled with mummies. Only 250 mummies were discovered in previous seasons.
The discovered mummies date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, when Egypt was under the Roman rule. These discovered mummies show the continuity of the Egyptian religion in this period, despite the existence of the beliefs of the Greek and Roman ruling class, which were influenced by the ancient Egyptian religion.
Most of the discovered mummies have gilded masks and chests, and are decorated with hieroglyphic inscriptions and religious drawings.
Tombs of the Pyramid Builders:
Hawass was sitting alone in his office at noon of August 14,1990 right next to the Pyramid of Khufu [Cheops] when the head of the pyramids area’s guards came to tell him that an American tourist had fallen off her horse only 10 meters from the site of the excavations that he was conducting the search for the tombs of the Pyramid Builders.
Hawass went to the site immediately, and found out that the brick that caused the tourist to tumble off her horse was from the tombs of the Pyramids Builders.
Wahibre Psamtik I:
On March 16, 2017, Minister of Tourism & Antiquities Khaled el-Anani, announced the identity of the royal statue discovered in Souq Al-Khamis in Al-Matareya: “The statue is for Psamtik I, and not Ramses II.”
On July 14, 2018, Minister of Tourism & Antiquities Khaled el-Anani, announced the success of the Egyptian-German archaeological mission of the University of Tübingen tp uncover a complete embalming workshop with burial chambers dating back to the 26th and 27th Dynasties (664-404 BC).
The announcement came during the archaeological survey works in the Cemeteries of the Sawy Age, located south of the Pyramid of Unas in Saqqara.
The mission also found a gilded mummy mask inlaid with semi-precious stones that covered the face of one of the mummies in one of the attached burial chambers. Also, three mummies and a group of canopic vessels made of calcite (Egyptian alabaster) were uncovered, in addition to a number of Ushabti statues made of blue faience and vessels for embalming oils with hieroglyphic inscriptions.
In May 2019, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities announced the discovery of 30 coffins in Al-Asasif region, which includes a distinguished group of 30 colored human wooden coffins for men, women and children, in a good condition of preservation. The coffins were discovered exactly the same way ancient Egyptians had left them, closed coffins with mummies inside, grouped in a cache on two levels, one on top of the other. The first level contained 18 coffins, and the second level 12 coffins.
Since the discovery was announced, many international media outlets have shed light on it as one of the biggest archaeological discoveries, and the largest that has been made in Egypt in a century.
The cemetery of Khoy, the supervisor of the royal palace in the late Fifth Dynasty, was discovered in the ancient Saqqara cemetery in April 2019. Due to its importance, the American Archeology Magazine announced its selection among the 10 most important archaeological discoveries for 2019, placing a picture of the cemetery with its colorful walls on the cover of the magazine for the January / February 2020 issue.
The Egyptian mission, headed by Dr. Muhammad Mujahid, succeeded in uncovering the tomb during the excavation work and the scientific recording of the hierarchical group of King Djedkare Isesi of the Fifth Dynasty south of Saqqara.
Forty mummies in Tuna al-Gabal:
In February 2019, 40 mummies were found in good condition in Tuna al-Gabal area during excavations of the Egyptian mission, in cooperation with the Minya University mission. Stone sarcophagi and pottery, dating back from the beginning of the Ptolemaic period to the Roman Byzantine era were also found.
The sacred animals cache:
In November 2019, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism & Antiquities Khaled el-Anani, announced a new discovery in the archaeological area of Saqqara made by the Egyptian archaeological mission headed by Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, during its work in the Cemetery of Animals.
The findings include a huge collection of 75 statues of cats of different sizes and shapes, made of wood and bronze; 25 wooden boxes with covers decorated with hieroglyphs with mummies of cats; wooden statues of different animals, including the mongoose, the calf Apis, small crocodiles with the remains of mummified crocodiles and the deity Anubis kept inside; a large scarab made of stone; other small scarabs made of wood and sandstone with scenes of gods.
This is in addition to a distinctive wooden statue of an ibis and another group of statues of ancient Egyptian deities, including 73 bronze statues of the god Osiris and six wooden statues of the deity Ptah Soker, 11 faience and wood statues of the goddess Sekhmet as well as a beautiful wooden statue of the goddess Neith.
The discovery also contains two small limestone sarcophagi of the cat Bastet, as well as a stone plaque bearing the name of King Psamtik I of the 26th Dynasty, a small wooden box with the remains of a gilded mask and two wooden statues of two women each with a cobra's head, and a frieze of wood representing the life of a cobra.
Discovery of 83 ancient tombs in Dakahlia Governorate:
In February 2020, the Egyptian archaeological mission of the Supreme Council of Antiquities uncovered 83 tombs during the archaeological excavation work in Umm Al-Khalegan area in Dakahlia Governorate.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, explained that 80 of them date back to the first half of the fourth millennium BC, known as the Bhutto civilization or Lower Egypt.
They took the form of oval pits cut in the sandy island layer, inside which were squat burials; burial furniture was found.
Waziri confirmed that this is the first time that pottery sarcophagi dating back to the Naqada III period have been uncovered in Dakahlia governorate, as burial inside pottery coffins was not previously detected, except in one case, which was discovered by the Polish mission at Tal el-Farkha.
Saqqara colored wooden coffins:
Recently, it has been announced that a deep well was discovered in the Saqqara antiquities area, containing a large number of colored wooden coffins.