Egypt–2500 years ago–Archaeologists have discovered more than 13 ancient Egyptian coffins piled one on top of the other within a burial well at the desert necropolis of Saqqara, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
The 2,500-year-old wooden coffins are so well preserved (no pun intended) that the intricate designs on them, painted in blue, gold, white, black and red, are still visible.
The identity of the deceased who were buried within the coffins remains a mystery; archaeologists have yet to look inside the sealed coffins, which haven’t been opened since the bodies were interred within, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities first reported in a Sept. 6 Facebook post.
Archaeologists found the coffins in a well measuring nearly 40 feet (11 meters) deep. It’s likely that more of these coffins will be found within the niches located along the sides of the well, the ministry noted.
“[It’s] an indescribable feeling when you witness a new archeological discovery,” Khaled Al-Anani, the minister of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, wrote on Twitter when he tweeted a teaser of the discovery on Sept. 6.
شعور لا يقارن كلما تشهد كشف اثري جديد،
انتظروا الاعلان عن كشف اثري جديد بسقارة، شكرا لزملائي بالوزارة.
An indescribable feeling when you witness a new archeological discovery.
Stay tuned for the announcement of a new discovery in Saqqara
Thank you to my colleagues in the ministry pic.twitter.com/RpgK6TmREo
— Khaled El-Enany (@KhaledElEnany6) September 6, 2020
These newfound coffins are the largest finding at Saqqara since 30 wooden coffins were discovered in a cache at Al-Assasif cemetery within the necropolis in October 2019, the ministry said.
Egypt faced tumultuous political change when the recently discovered deceased were alive in about 500 B.C. In 525 B.C., the king of Persia, known as Cambyses II, conquered Egypt and incorporated it into the Persian Empire, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. During this period of Persian rule, recognized as Dynasty 27, the Persians exercised their power through a resident governor, known as a satrap, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
During this time, some Persian rulers invested in Egypt. For instance, when the Persian king Darius I (ruled from 522-486 B.C.) held power, Egypt thrived as the Persians ordered the construction of temples and public works, redid the legal system and strengthened the economy, the Met reported. Persian rule ended in 404 B.C., when local Egyptians took back the throne.
Originally published on Live Science.