A 3,000-year-old cachette uncovered in Luxor
The cachette, unearthed in Asasif necropolis, contained 30 coffins of priests and priestesses
Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany made the announcement of the discovery of the Asasif cachette at a press conference with Hatshepsut Temple in the background.
"This is the first cachette of coffins to be uncovered in Luxor since the end of the 19th century," El-Enany said.
Cachettes in Luxor include those of the royal mummies at Al-Deir Al-Bahari, discovered in 1881, and king Amenhotep II's, unveiled in 1898, and a cachette of priests at Bab El-Gussess area, unearthed in 1891 on Luxor's West Bank.
El-Enany pointed out that the newly uncovered coffins were found grouped in the cachette on two levels on top of each other. The first level housed 18 coffins while the second contained 12 coffins.
The cachette housed 23 coffins belonging to men, five to women and three to children.
At the conference, El-Enany, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass and Kamel Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, watched on as restorers opened two coffins revealing two well-preserved mummies of a man and a woman wrapped in linen.
The rest of the coffins are still sealed and well conserved. They will be restored and taken to the Grand Egyptian Museum to be displayed in a special hall.
El-Enany appeared proud as he made the announcement of the first cachette to be discovered by Egyptian archaeologists.
Rumours had it this week that the cachette was discovered in 1967 and re-buried in the sand due to the ongoing war. El-Enany refuted the claims, saying the rumours were unfounded and aimed at undermining the ministry's success in drawing the world's attention to Egypt and its ancient civilisation.
Waziri said the unveiling of the Asasif cachette was the biggest discovery in the past few years.
Some coffins were found fully painted with scenes from the Book of the Dead and the titles of the deceased, others were partly painted and the rest were plain.
"More research will be conducted on the coffins and mummies inside to reveal more of the cachette's secrets," Waziri told Ahram Online.
He explained that the coffins were grouped and hidden in the cachette by an ancient Egyptian priest of the late 22nd Dynasty to protect the bodies of his ancestors during the unrest caused by tomb raiders.
During the 10th century, almost 3,000 years ago, tomb robbers spread across the country, stealing funerary collections found in tombs, destroying the coffins and mummies along the way.
Hawass said the discovery was exceptional and fantastic.
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