Cairo: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced on Saturday the discovery of dozens of ancient mummies and statues of animals dating back to some 2,700 years ago inside a cache at Saqqara necropolis in Giza province near the capital Cairo.
"The unearthed objects, including mummified lion cubs, cats, crocodiles and mongooses, were hidden in 25 wooden boxes decorated with hieroglyphic texts inside a small cache in a cemetery for animals in Saqqara," said Mostafa Waziri, head of the ministry's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), in an outdoor press conference in the necropolis.
Among the objects discovered by a SCA archeological mission led by Waziri are a collection of 75 cat statues representing ancient Egyptian cat goddess Bastet, a small wooden statue of goddess Neith, 57 bronze statuettes of ancient god Osiris and a falcon-like statue of god Horus.
Found inside a cache in the Bubasteion animal cemetery at Saqqara, the objects belong to the 26th Dynasty that ruled ancient Egypt during the Late Period.
"This stone scarab found inside a wooden box is the largest discovered in the world," Waziri said, pointing to a statue of a scarab fixed onto a wooden base inside a showcase.
The mission has also found two small-sized sandstone and wooden scarabs, three statues of crocodiles with remains of crocodile mummies inside, in addition to eight colorful clay masks for wooden coffins, dozens of faience amulets and pots of various shapes and colors.
"This is not just a discovery but it is more like a museum itself," Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anany told reporters, referring to the hundreds of discovered objects.
"This is the third time in 18 months to announce an archeological discovery in the same place, after we announced in April last year the discovery of a nearby animal cemetery and later in December the discovery of the well preserved tomb of Fifth Dynasty's royal priest Wahtye," said the minister.
He added that he is very optimistic to find more discoveries in this area, noting that he will announce another discovery in a different place before the end of the year. — Xinhua
Photo taken Saturday shows a newly-discovered statue of animal in Saqqara, Giza province, Egypt. Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities announced that the discovery of dozens of ancient mummies and statues of animals dating back to some 2,700 years ago inside a cache at Saqqara necropolis in Giza province near the capital Cairo.