Egypt unearths first human necropolis with dozens of mummies

Egypt unearths first human necropolis with dozens of mummies
2 min read
13 May, 2017
Experts say the first human necropolis has been uncovered in central Egypt, marking an 'unprecedented' find for archaeologists in the country.
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered 17 mummies in catacombs in Minya province, south of Cairo, the antiquities ministry announced on Saturday.

The discovery was made in the village of Tuna al-Gabal, a vast archaeological site on the edge of the western desert. The area hosts necropolises mainly for animals and birds.

"We found catacombs containing a number of mummies," said Salah al-Kholi, a Cairo University professor of Egyptology who headed the mission that made the discovery.

Excavation work uncovered a number of burial shafts that "led to a number of corridors inside a cachette of mummies," the ministry said. The cachette housed 17 non-royal mummies.

Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told reporters near the desert archaeological site that the discovery was "the first human necropolis found in central Egypt with so many mummies".

The necropolis dates back to the pharaonic Late Kingdom and Greco-Roman periods, he said, adding that the find is still in a preliminary stage, and more mummies are expected to be discovered in the area.

Mohamad Hamza, director of excavations at Cairo University, described the find as "important" and "unprecedented, because it's the first human necropolis" unearthed in the area.

The discovery comes as Egypt struggles to revive its tourism sector, partially driven by antiquities sightseeing, that was hit hard by political turmoil since the 2011 uprising.