Ancient Egyptian mummification workshop discovered

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Egyptian archaeologists have discovered an ancient mummification workshop near the three pyramids of Giza.

The workshop dates back 2,500 years and is part of the vast Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, near the ancient city of Memphis.

Memphis was the first capital of ancient Egypt, and its large necropolis is home to a range of temples and tombs.

A tourists take a picture of the step pyramid of Djoser during a visit to the ancient Egyptian Saqqara necropolis some 20 kilometres south of Cairo on September 16, 2014. Egypt tried to end controversy about the restoration of the step pyramid of Djose, after facing accusations of endangering the famous pharaonic monument, dating back over 4,600 years, due to ongoing restoration work. AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
  Ancient Egyptian mummification workshop discovered skynews egypt saqqara 4362054
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The pyramid of Djoser marks the landscape near the Saqqara necropolis

Alongside the mummification workshop is a shaft used as a communal burial place, dating back to the Saite-Persian period, from 664-404 BC.

The site lies just south of the Unas pyramid and was last excavated more than 100 years ago in 1900.

Among the artefacts which the archaeologists found were a gilded silver mummy mask and fragments of mummy cartonnages – the elaborate funerary masks which mummies wore.

A picture taken on July 14, 2018 shows statuettes on display in front of the step pyramid of Saqqara, south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. - The Egyptian Minister of Antiquities announced the excavation of a mummification workshop discovered along with a communal burial place, consisting of several burial chambers. The work is being carried out south of the King Unas Pyramid in Saqqara by an Egyptian-German mission. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Get  Ancient Egyptian mummification workshop discovered skynews ehypt statuettes 4362053
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Statuettes discovered near the Saqqara necropolis

Also discovered were canopic cylindrical jars used to preserve the organs of their owner, alongside cups made from marl clay and faience.

The artefacts will be displayed in the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is under construction and will partially open this year.

A picture taken on July 14, 2018 shows a gilded silver mummy mask found on the face of the mummy of the second priest of Mut on display in front of the step pyramid of Saqqara, south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. - The Egyptien Minister of Antiquities announced the excavation of a mummification workshop discovered along with a communal burial place, consisting of several burial chambers. The work is being carried out south of the King Unas Pyramid in Saqqara by an Egyptian-German mission. (Phot  Ancient Egyptian mummification workshop discovered skynews silver mummy mask egypt 4362052
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The gilded silver mummy mask found in the Saqqara necropolis

At the very bottom of the 30m (100ft) shaft were several mummies, wooden coffins and stone sarcophagi.

The shaft is comprised of burial chambers carved into the bedrock lining the sides of two hallways.

In the mummification workshop, an embalmer’s cachette was found that the archaeologists hope will reveal more about the oils used in the mummification process in the 26th dynasty.

A picture taken on July 14, 2018 shows a broken gilded mummy mask on display in front of the step pyramid of Saqqara, south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. - The Egyptian Minister of Antiquities announced the excavation of a mummification workshop discovered along with a communal burial place, consisting of several burial chambers. The work is being carried out south of the King Unas Pyramid in Saqqara by an Egyptian-German mission. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read KHALED  Ancient Egyptian mummification workshop discovered skynews broken mummy mask egypt 4362051
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A broken gilded mummy mask retrieved near the Saqqara necropolis

“We are in front of a goldmine of information about the chemical composition of these oils,” archaeologist Ramadan Hussein told a press conference.

“It’s only the beginning,” said the minister for antiquities, Khaled al Anani, who added that the sites were likely to hold more secrets which would be uncovered with further excavation.



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