Mummification workshop discovered near Egypt′s Great Pyramids | News | DW | 14.07.2018
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Mummification workshop discovered near Egypt's Great Pyramids

Archaeologists in Egypt say they have found underground burial chambers dating back 2,500 years. The researchers say a "goldmine of information" should provide fresh insight into the mummification process.

German and Egyptian archaeologists said on Saturday they discovered a "mummification workshop" near the Saqqara necropolis in Egypt. The team, which includes researchers from Germany's University of Tübingen, found an underground burial shaft containing several mummies, wooden coffins and sarcophagi.

The researchers believe the discovery of an embalming cachette at the site will allow them to identify the specific oils used by ancient Eqyptians to mummify their dead. "We are in front of a goldmine of information about the chemical composition of these oils," said archaeologist Ramadan Hussein.

Read more: Radar scans at Tutankhamun's tomb reveal no secret chamber

A broken mummy mask was amongst the artefacts discovered (Reuters/M. abd el Ghany)

A broken mummy mask was amongst the artefacts discovered

'Only the beginning'

Hundreds of small stone statues, jars, and vessels used in the mummification process were all excavated from inside the burial chambers. The most significant discovery was a gilded silver mask, the second only such discovery ever made, according to Egypt's minister of antiquities, Khaled al-Anani. "It's only the beginning."

The Saqqara necropolis is part of Memphis, the first capital of ancient Egypt and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is home to a variety of temples and tombs and the three pyramids of Giza.

Several mummies inside the newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis (Reuters/M. abd el Ghany)

Several mummies inside the newly discovered burial site

The artifacts are expected to be displayed in the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is currently under construction. Egypt hopes the discoveries will boost its flagging tourist industry which took a hit following a 2011 political uprising and, more recently, a spate of suicide bombings. 

Read more: The long record of terror on the Sinai Peninsula

kw/aw (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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