17 mummies discovered in central Egypt: ministry

Katrina Barker
May 15, 2017

Archaeologists digging in desert catacombs in the Minya province of Egypt have uncovered a necropolis containing 17 mummies.

Archaeologists found the non-royal mummies in a series of corridors after following the trail of burial shafts in the Touna-Gabal district of the central Egyptian province, the ministry said in a statement. Also found at the site were six limestone and clay sarcophagi, two clay coffins and a number of other artifacts, Anani said.

The archaeological site where the discovery was made is located in the collage of Tuna al-Gabal which is on the edge of the western desert.

Minister Khaled al-Anani told reporters at the site Saturday that the necropolis dates back to the pharaonic Late Kingdom and Greco-Roman periods. Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said last month, according to Reuters, that the new finds could raise tourism levels to about 10 million, an improvement from the 9.3 million visitors that came in 2015 but still far below the 14.7 million from 2010. The discovery is the first of its kind since 1950, when egyptologist Sami Gabra discovered a burial site of ibis and baboons on that date.

El-Enany is hopeful that these interesting discoveries will give a boost to the struggling Egyptian tourism industry.

It was the second discovery of mummies announced by the ministry in less than a month.

In April, the ministry unveiled eight mummies discovered in a 3,500-year-old tomb belonging to a nobleman in the southern city of Luxor.

"2017 - historic in terms of archaeological discoveries".

"Antiquities are the soft power that distinguishes Egypt", said Enany. No 2016 figure is yet available.

Work at the site, which is close to an ancient animal cemetery, is only at a preliminary stage, so the discovery could be much bigger.

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