Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered a Pharaonic tomb containing 50 mummies south of Cairo
Officials at the site in Minya said the chambers, which were cut out of rock, belonged to a middle-class family who probably lived during the Ptolemaic period, from the fourth century BC to just before the birth of Jesus.
About 40 mummies are currently being exhibited, 12 of which are of children, according to Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
“The grave that we are talking about here has a well that is almost nine metres deep, leading to four chambers underground holding a great number of mummies — over 50 mummies,” he said.
The mummies are in good condition and some are decorated with “demotic handwriting” — a form of ancient Egyptian script used by ordinary people.
Some of the mummies were found wrapped in linen, while others were placed in stone and wooden coffins or sarcophagi.
Another chamber was also located at the western side filled with mummies and large stone sarcophagi. At the northern side, there is a third chamber with a collection of stone sarcophagi inside niches. This is the typical burial style used in Tuna El- Gebel, which was once the necropolis of Egypt’s 15th nome during the late New Kingdom and the beginning of the New Intermediate Period.
“The methods used in burying the mummies inside the maze of tombs varied in style”, Waziri told attendees at the press conferences, explaining that some of them were buried inside stone or wooden sarcophagi, while others were buried in the sand, or placed on the floors of the tombs or inside niches.
The entrance to the tomb had first been found in February last year, when archaeologists found a corridor leading to sloping stairs that opened to a rectangular chamber 9 meters (30 feet) deep.
Fathi Awad, Director of Tuna El-Gebel, said that the Tuna El-Gebel archaeological site has several significant tombs, among them the tomb of Petosiris, the animal sacred cemetery, Isadora tomb, the Roman cemetery, as well as two of the frontiers reliefs of king Akhenatun.