According to Egypt's Antiquities Ministry, the mummies, which are coated with a layer of material called cartonnage — layers of linen or papyrus covered with plaster — date back to ancient Egypt's Late Period (664 — 332 BCE).
The mummies were uncovered in King Amenemhat II's pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis. The royal necropolis, which is a burial site for courtiers and high-ranking members of government, is located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile. Amenemhat was the third pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt.
The necropolis houses two ancient pyramids: the Bent Pyramid, which was built during the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu, and the Red Pyramid, built under the same reign and believed to have been constructed to serve as Sneferu's burial place (although this has never been proven).
In September, archaeologists draining groundwater from the Kom Ombo temple in Egypt's southern city of Aswan discovered a sandstone sphinx, a mythical creature with a human head and a lion's body. The statue most likely dates back to the Ptolemaic era. The Ptolemaic dynasty was a Macedonian Greek royal family that ruled the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt from 305 to 30 BCE.
Egyptian officials hope that such new discoveries increase tourism in the country.
Following the Arab Spring uprising in 2011, Egypt's tourism industry suffered greatly. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the country went from hosting 14 million tourism travelers in 2010 to 5.3 million in 2016. By the end of 2017, the numbers had somewhat increased, with roughly 8.2 million tourists arriving in the country that year.
In September, officials in Egypt opened the ancient tomb of Mehu, a pharaonic official who was a relative of the first king of the Sixth Dynasty, in a move to help boost tourism, Sputnik reported at the time.
The tomb, which is estimated to be some 4,300 years old, is located in the Saqqara necropolis near Giza and was first discovered in 1940 by archaeologist Zaki Saad.