The Egyptian archaeological mission working in the cemetery of the sacred animals (Bubasteion) in Saqqara uncovered an enormous cache of coffins with mummies and funerary objects dating back to the Late Period. The discovery took place during the mission’s fourth and latest excavation season.
Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and head of the mission, said that the cache contained 150 bronze statues of various sizes depicting a number of ancient Egyptian deities, including Anubis, Amun Min, Osiris, Isis, Nefertum, Bastet, and Hathor, a headless bronze statue of the engineer Imhotep. The cache also contained a group of bronze vessels related to the rituals of the goddess Isis, and pottery.
The mission also brought to light a new group of burial wells, which yielded 250 colored wooden coffins dating to the Late Period (about 500 BC). The coffins were found sealed, contain mummies, and are in good condition. Dr. Mustafa Waziri indicated that a sarcophagus that may contain chapters from the Book of the Dead was also found inside one of the burial wells. The sarcophagus is in a good state of preservation and it was transferred to the restoration laboratories of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir for sterilization, hydration, study, and knowledge of the texts it contains.
In addition, the mission excavated a burial dating to the early New Kingdom (around 1500 BC), containing adornment tools, a bronze mirror, and a group of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and anklets.
The team also unearthed a group of wooden statues, some of which have their faces gilded. Two gilded-faced wooden statues depict the two goddesses Isis and Nephthys in the position of mourners. Finally, a large group of amulets was also brought to light.
Saqqara is indeed a site of endless discoveries. The Egyptian archaeological mission began its work on the site in 2018, discovering the unique tomb of Wahtye, a priest who lived during the Fifth Dynasty. What followed was a series of prominent finds, including seven rock tombs, three of the New Kingdom and four of the Old Kingdom, the facade of another Old Kingdom tomb and thousands of faience amulets, dozens of wooden cat statues, cat mummies, wooden statues and animal caches.
In 2020, the mission unearthed more than 100 closed wooden coffins of Late Period date, 40 partially gilded statues of Ptah Sokar, the god of the Saqqara necropolis, and 20 wooden chests of the god Horus. This discovery was classified as one of the ten most important archaeological discoveries for the year 2020 and the most eye-catching, according to Archaeology Magazine.