Cat mummies, animal statues discovered in Egypt sarcophagi


Militant bomb attacks have also deterred foreign visitors.

Notable about this find is that the facade and door are intact, meaning its contents may still be untouched, said Mohamed Youssef, director of the Saqqara area. About 14.7 million people visited Egypt in 2010 before the uprising.

Mostafa Waziri told reporters Saturday that the discovery at Saqqara also includes mummies of scarabs, the first ever to be found in the area.

An Egyptian archaeologist cleans mummified cats at the site south of Cairo.

Out of the seven tombs, three of them contained cat mummies which were traced back to the fifth and sixth dynasties of Egypt. As told journalists the Minister of antiquities of Egypt, Khaled al-Anon just found more than 200 mummies beetles, which in Ancient Egypt was considered a symbol of happiness, bring good luck and prosperity to its owner. Egyptologists are also excited about the discovery of a sealed door to what is presumably an unlooted tomb and will be opening it in the coming weeks.

The tombs lie in a buried ridge that has only partially been uncovered and could offer many more similar discoveries, Mr Waziri said.

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Saqqara served as the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than two millennia.

Two were found inside a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with a vaulted lid and decorated with three scarabs painted black, he said.

"The (mummified) scarab is something really unique". Mustafa Vaziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of antiquities of Egypt said that the statue, probably belongs to the Ptolemaic period (331 BC - 31 BC).

Over 200 mummies of cats, over 200 mummies of scarabs, as well as several mummies of cobras and alligators, have been found in the tombs.

"A couple of days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were sealed coffins with drawings of scarabs", he added. They also saw wooden gilded statues with the features of a lion, a cow and a falcon, as well as 1,000 amulets, some jars, writing tools, and chapters from the Book of the Dead. "I had never heard about them before".