'Unprecedented': Archaeologists discover 17 mummies in central Egypt

Egyptian mummies discovered weird mystery

Reuters

An Egyptian archaeological mission has found a necropolis holding at least 17 mummies near the Nile Valley city of Minya, in the first such find in the area, the antiquities ministry said on Saturday.

They also found a golden sheet and two papyri in Demotic, an ancient Egyptian script, as well as a number of sarcophogi made of limestone and clay.

Experts believe the mummies hold the bodies of officials and priests, due to their elaborate preservation.

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.

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The mummies have not yet been dated but are believed to date to Egypt's Greco-Roman period, a roughly 600-year span that followed the country's conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, the researchers said.

The team hope the recent discoveries could help revive the country's tourism sector, which was seen hard times since the 2011 uprising.

"It is the first [mummies] to be uncovered in the area since the discovery of a necropolis of animals and birds from 1931 to 1954", he said, according to an official statement.

The minister of antiquities, Khaled al-Enany, announced the discovery on the site in the city of Minya, around 250 kilometres south of Cairo.

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Egyptian archaeologists have discovered an ancient burial site holding at least 17 mummies, a lot of them fully intact, which could date back two millennia. Tourism accounted for almost 12 percent of Egypt's economy in 2015 and even more in the preceding years.

"Such big number of discovered mummies revealed that there will be a large necropolis behind the shafts", the minister added.

Discoveries such as the mummies, are important to the Egyptian government. Figures from 2016 are not yet available.

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