archaeological discoveries
(Ahmed Hasan/AFP)

dpa/GNA – A major necropolis near Cairo has proven to be rich in archaeological discoveries, Egyptian scientists have reported.

The discoveries were made by a team of Egyptian archaeologists working in the Saqqara necropolis, which lies near the famed pyramid of King Djoser, the Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said in a statement late Saturday.

The funerary temple of Queen Nearit, the wife of King Teti, the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC), was discovered, head of the mission and Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawas said. The plans for the temple’s layout were also found.

The new discoveries include 52 burial shafts, between 10 to 12 meters deep. Furthermore, there were more than 50 wooden coffins dating back to the New Kingdom (1520-1075 BC) uncovered inside these shafts.

“This is the first time that coffins dating back to 3,000 years have been found in the Saqqara region,” Hawas said.

A papyrus, which measured 4 metres in length and 1 metre in width, representing Chapter 17 from the Book of the Dead was found, with the name of its owner recorded on it (Pw-Kha-Ef).

Statues, stelae, toys, wooden boats and funerary masks that date back to the New Kingdom were also unearthed.

Egypt has in recent years announced a string of archaeological discoveries in several parts of the nation in an attempt to revive its battered tourism industry, which is a main source of national income.

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