- Archaeologists have found 160 sarcophagi in an ancient city of the dead beneath Saqqara, Egypt since September.
- The wooden coffins were perfectly sealed. They’d remained undisturbed for 2,500 years.
- Researchers recently opened one sarcophagus to X-ray the mummy inside.
- Egyptologists also discovered a trove of mummified lion cubs, crocodiles, and cobras in Saqqara last year.
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More than two millennia ago, 160 Egyptians were laid to rest in Saqqara, an ancient city of the dead. Their organs were removed, and their bodies wrapped in linens. Priests placed them inside wooden boxes adorned with hieroglyphics.
The mummies stayed buried in those sarcophagi for 2,500 years — until their recent discovery by Egyptian archaeologists. In the last two months, researchers have discovered a trove of coffins buried deep within shafts below the Saqqara sand.
Over the weekend, Mostafa Waziri, the general director of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, unveiled at least 100 new sarcophagi. That added to the total of 59 Saqqara coffins that had been found in September and October.
These sarcophagi were “completely closed and haven’t been opened since they were buried,” according to Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
The archaeologists picked one sarcophagus to open live in front of an audience at a small event on Saturday. Then they conducted an immediate, real-time X-ray of the mummy inside, which revealed a short, ancient Egyptian man who’d been in good health before he died between ages 40 and 45.
The photos below show how archaeologists found the sarcophagi and other mummies buried beneath Saqqara.