Egypt discovers 27 sarcophagi more than 2,500 years old

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CAIRO (Reuters) – Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered 27 coffins at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, a burial ground that is also home to one of the world’s oldest pyramids, the ministry of tourism and antiquities said.2500-year-old coffins discovered in Egypt© Reuters/Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities 2500-year-old coffins discovered in EgyptThe wooden sarcophagi are ornately painted and covered in hieroglyphs, and were found stacked in two burial shafts, the ministry said in a statement.

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a man sitting on a chair: 2500-year-old coffins discovered in Egypt© Reuters/Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities 2500-year-old coffins discovered in EgyptThey have not yet been opened, the ministry said.

Saqqara is a UNESCO world heritage site.

In March, Egypt reopened at the Saqqara site the Djoser’s Step Pyramid, the first pyramid ever built, after a 14-year restoration costing nearly $6.6 million.

In July, Egypt restarted international flights and reopened major tourist attractions including the Great Pyramids of Giza after months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

a man sitting on a bench: 2500-year-old coffins discovered in Egypt© Reuters/Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities 2500-year-old coffins discovered in EgyptYet despite reopenings and continued safety reassurances to international tourists, many concede that the key winter season starting in October is going to be tough, further straining the economy.

(This story corrects to say sarcophagi are made of wood, not stone)

(Reporting by Amr Dalsh and Nadeen Ebrahim; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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