Egypt unveils discovery of ancient mummification workshops, tombs in Saqqara

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CAIRO, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Egypt announced on Saturday the discovery of two ancient embalming workshops for humans and animals along with two tombs and a collection of artifacts in Saqqara necropolis, south of the capital Cairo.

Ahmed Issa, Egyptian minister of tourism and antiquities, said during a press conference at the site of discovery that the excavation was carried out by an Egyptian mission led by the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri.

The two embalming workshops date back to the 30th Dynasty and the Ptolemaic periods while the two tombs are from the Old and New Kingdoms, according to the minister.

"The workshop for humans has a rectangular shape and is designed to be divided into several rooms equipped with stony beds where the deceased lay down for mummification. Each bed is two meters long and 50 cm wide, covered with plaster and ends with gutters," explained Waziri.

Inside each room, the mission unearthed a collection of clay pots used in mummification as well as a collection of mummification instruments and ritual vessels, he added.

"The animals' embalming workshop is rectangular too and is made of mud with stony floors. It consists of a group of rooms, inside which were a collection of clay pots and burials for animals along with bronze tools used in the mummification process," Waziri said.

The workshop has five beds made of stone different from those found inside the human embalming workshop, he noted, pointing out that early studies reveal that this workshop was used in the mummification of the sacred animals.

For his part, Sabri Farag, general director of the Saqqara archaeological site, said that the first uncovered tomb belongs to a top official of the fifth Dynasty (2400 BC) named "Ne Hesut Ba" who was the head of scribes and the priest of Horus and Maat.

The second tomb belongs to Qadish Priest named "Men Kheber" from the 18th Dynasty (1400 BC), he added.

Mohamed Youssef, director of the Saqqara site, said the Old Kingdom tomb consists of a mastaba with a stone painted facade with the names of the deceased and his wife.

The New Kingdom tomb is carved in the rock with a door and lintel decorated with the names of the deceased and his wife, he said, adding that the tomb is decorated with scenes showing the deceased in different positions before offering tables.

"A collection of ushabti figurines was also unearthed," Youssef revealed.

In the past few years, many discoveries were made in the Saqqara sites, including hundreds of colored coffins containing well-preserved mummies of senior statesmen and priests. Enditem

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