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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.