Ancient Egyptian Coffins Sealed 2,600 Years Ago Are Opened for First Time in History

Mummy Revealed in Egypt

Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity

Last month, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity announced the incredible discovery of 2,600-year-old coffins in Saqqara. Unearthed in a well near the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the wood coffins were found to be remarkably well-preserved and still retaining some of their paint. Now, archaeologists have taken the next step and actually opened one of the coffins.

Surrounded by press and dignitaries, researchers revealed a perfectly preserved mummy inside one of the 59 coffins that were discovered. The mummy can be seen still wrapped in its burial linen and the cloth has retained its paint. Based on preliminary analysis, researchers believe that the bodies are of priests, government officials, and prominent members of society.

In addition to the coffins, 28 statues of Ptah-Soker were discovered, as well as one statue of Nefertum. That statue was actually inscribed with the owner's name, Priest Badi-Amun. Ptah-Soker is a composite god that is found in funerary settings. The god is composed of Ptah, a creator god who was the local deity of the ancient capital of Memphis, and Soker, a falcon god of the Memphis necropolis. Nefertum is Ptah's youthful companion, and so is often found together with him.

But the coffins and statues aren't the end of what's to be discovered. Tourism and antiquities minister Khaled al-Anani promised, “Today is not the end of the discovery; I consider it the beginning of the big discovery.” As for the coffins, they'll be brought to the soon-to-be-opened Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. Scheduled to open in 2021, the museum will host thousands of artifacts, including some of the numerous finds that archeologists have dug up in recent years.

After the discovery of numerous ancient Egyptian coffins, one was opened to reveal a 2,600-year-old mummy.

Wood Coffin Found in Saqqara

Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity

Ancient Mummy Revealed in Egypt

Photo: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquity


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Watch as the coffin is opened for the first time.

Egypt Ministry of Antiquities: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
h/t: [c-net, Smithsonian]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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