Archaeologists find ancient tombs in Egypt

One of the sarcophagi that was found in a cemetery south of Cairo dating back about 2,000 years. Three tombs were found by archaeologists.
One of the sarcophagi that was found in a cemetery south of Cairo dating back about 2,000 years. Three tombs were found by archaeologists.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

CAIRO • Egyptian archaeologists have discovered three ancient tombs containing sarcophagi in the south of the country in a cemetery dating back about 2,000 years, the antiquities ministry has said.

The tombs excavated in the Al-Kamin al-Sahrawi area in Minya province, south of Cairo, were in burial grounds constructed some time between the 27th Dynasty and the Greco- Roman period, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The team found "a collection of sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, as well as clay fragments", the statement said.

One of the tombs, which was reached through a shaft carved in rock, contained four sarcophagi, each sculpted to depict a human face. Another tomb held the remains of two sarcophagi and six burial holes, including one for "the burial of a small child".

Clay fragments found at the site "date the tombs between the 27th Dynasty (founded in 525BC) and the Greco-Roman era (between 332BC and the fourth century)", the statement said.

The discovery "suggests that the area was a great cemetery for a long span of time".

In one of the three tombs, excavators found bones believed to be the remains of "men, women and children of different ages", the statement said.

This shows that "these tombs were part of a large cemetery for a large city and not a military garrison as some suggest".

The latest excavation work follows previous excavation at the site, which began in 2015.

Works are under way in order to reveal more secrets, the statement added.

Egypt boasts an array of ancient sites, including pharaonic temples and the famed Giza pyramids that draw millions of tourists every year.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2017, with the headline 'Archaeologists find ancient tombs in Egypt'. Print Edition | Subscribe