At the site, which is situated in the Egypt’s Minya governorate and dates to between 664 and 399 BC, archaeologists found 20 sarcophagi made from limestone that were inscribed with various carvings of hieroglyphic texts - some that included the names of the owners. Additionally, lids of the caskets were molded into “mummy-like figures of men,” according to the Associated Press.
Aside from the decorative sarcophagi, officials also found eight sets of canopic vessels used for storing the deceased’s organs, a total of five wooden coffins, 10,000 blue funerary figurines and hundreds of amulets. Mostafa Waziri, the general secretary of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities who led the dig, told reporters at the unveiling that some amulets were made of gold or precious stones.
— Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities (@TourismandAntiq) January 30, 2020
During the announcement of the finds, Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani told reporters that the cemetery excavated by archaeologists was suspected of belonging to the high priests of Thoth, the bird-like Egyptian god of writing, wisdom and sciences, among other intellectual pursuits.
Of all the finds, one of the bigger gems discovered at the scene was the sarcophagus belonging to Grand Jehuti Ayov Ankh, who during his life was a royal treasurer and bearer of seals. Ministry officials indicated that his coffin was made of polished limestone.
Per Anani, the latest discovery proved to be the first in 2020 for the archaeologists, who are currently on their mission’s third season.
"Excavations are still running,” Waziri told reporters at the site. “We expect to find more and more and more [discoveries] in this area.”
Previous digs at the Tuna El-Gebel archaeological site unearthed a family grave that included the tombs of the mummified bodies of more than 50 men, women, children and their pets. Other excavation uncovered additional funerary buildings and catacombs that housed mummified birds.