Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop

July 15, 2018 by Menna Zaki
Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
A photographer films a gilded silver mummy mask found on the face of the mummy of the second priest of Mut, as it is displayed during a press conference in front of the step pyramid of Saqqara, in Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Archaeologists say they have discovered a mummification workshop dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Archaeologists in Egypt stumbled upon a new discovery dating back to more than 2,500 years ago near Egypt's famed pyramids at an ancient necropolis south of Cairo.

The discovery which includes a mummification workshop and a shaft, used as a communal burial place, is located at the Saqqara necropolis of Memphis, the first capital of ancient Egypt. Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its vast necropolis are home to a wide range of temples and tombs as well as the three renowned Giza pyramids.

The latest find, announced at a press conference Saturday, belongs to the Saite-Persian Period, from 664-404 B.C. The site, which lies south of the Unas pyramid, was last excavated more than 100 years ago, in 1900.

In the mummification workshop, an embalmer's cachette holding a large collection of pottery vessels, bowels and measuring cups were found. Archaeologists believe the findings will reveal more about the oils used in the in the 26th Dynasty.

"We are in front of a goldmine of information about the chemical composition of these oils," said Ramadan Hussein, the head of the German-Egyptian mission, at the press conference.

Among the artifacts found were fragments of mummy cartonnages, canopic cylindrical jars and marl clay and faience cups. Many will be displayed in the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum, the first phase of which is expected to be inaugurated later this year.

Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
Recently discovered skulls and bones are seen at a mummification workshop dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara cemetery, Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Antiquities Ministry officials said at a press conference that archaeologists hope the find will reveal more about the secrets of mummification in the 26th dynasty of ancient Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Archaeologists also found a gilded silver mask on the face of a mummy in a badly-damaged wooden coffin. The mask, the first to be discovered since 1939, belongs to a priest.

"The finding of this mask could be called a sensation," Hussein said. "Very few masks of precious metals have been preserved to the present day, because the tombs of most Ancient Egyptian dignitaries were looted in ancient times."

Down the 30-meter-deep shaft is a host of burial chambers carved into the bedrock lining the sides of two hallways. There lie several mummies, wooden coffins and sarcophagi.

"It's only the beginning," added Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani. He told reporters that the sites will likely yield more discoveries after further excavation.

Egypt has gone at great length to revive its vital tourism industry, still reeling from the political turmoil that followed a 2011 popular uprising. The Antiquities Ministry has boosted discoveries in recent years in the hopes of bolstering tourism, a major pillar of foreign currency.

Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
A recently discovered gilded mummy mask is displayed after it was found in a disturbed context of the hall way of a burial chamber dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Antiquities Ministry officials said at a press conference that archaeologists hope the find will reveal more about the secrets of mummification in the 26th dynasty of ancient Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anani, speaks during a press conference in front of the step pyramid of Saqqara, in Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Archaeologists say they have discovered a mummification workshop dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
Recently discovered mummies are seen at at a mummification workshop dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Antiquities Ministry officials said at a press conference that archaeologists hope the find will reveal more about the secrets of mummification in the 26th dynasty of ancient Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
Recently discovered mummies are seen at a mummification workshop dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Antiquities Ministry officials said at a press conference that archaeologists hope the find will reveal more about the secrets of mummification in the 26th dynasty of ancient Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
Reporters film recently discovered gilded mummy mask found in a disturbed context of the hall way of a burial chamber dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids in Saqqara, Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Antiquities Ministry officials said at a press conference that archaeologists hope the find will reveal more about the secrets of mummification in the 26th dynasty of ancient Egypt. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
Excavation workers take a rest in front of Unas Pyramid, left, and the step pyramid of Saqqara, in Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Archaeologists say they have discovered a mummification workshop dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Archaeologists in Egypt discover mummification workshop
Excavation workers walk in front of the step pyramid of Saqqara, in Giza, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Archaeologists say they have discovered a mummification workshop dating back some 2,500 years at an ancient necropolis near Egypt's famed pyramids. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Explore further: Archaeologists find ancient necropolis in Egypt

Related Stories

Archaeologists find ancient necropolis in Egypt

February 24, 2018

Egypt's Antiquities Ministry announced on Saturday the discovery of an ancient necropolis near the Nile Valley city of Minya, south of Cairo, the latest discovery in an area known to house ancient catacombs from the Pharaonic ...

Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo

February 3, 2018

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb near the country's famed pyramids at the Giza plateau just outside Cairo, the Antiquities Ministry said Saturday, the latest discovery that authorities hope will ...

17 mummies discovered in central Egypt

May 13, 2017

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered 17 mummies in desert catacombs in Minya province, an "unprecedented" find for the area south of Cairo, the antiquities ministry announced Saturday.

Recommended for you

University choice and achievement partly down to DNA

October 18, 2018

Research from King's College London has shown for the first time that genetics plays a significant role in whether young adults choose to go to university, which university they choose to attend and how well they do.

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Anonym
not rated yet Jul 15, 2018
Note to copy editor: the newly discovered workshop from 600 BC and the "famous pyramids," constructed around 3000 BC (or even earlier) have no connection except proximity. It's dumb and potentially misleading to mention them at all.
michbaskett
5 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2018
I believe the word should be bowls, not bowels. One assumes the author meant open containers, not chitlins.
Ojorf
1 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2018
I believe the word should be bowls, not bowels. One assumes the author meant open containers, not chitlins.


Didn't they keep the bowels in bowls?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.