Egypt unearths more than 40 mummies in 'maze of tombs'

Archaeologists found more than 40 mummies of men, women and children.

February 04, 2019, 11:31 AM

LONDON -- Dozens of mummies have been unearthed at an ancient burial site in Upper Egypt, officials said.

Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany on Saturday unveiled the discovery in Minya, south of Cairo, which consists of "a maze of tombs" housing more than 40 mummies of men, women and children.

PHOTO: A newly-discovered mummies wrapped in linen found in burial chambers dating to the Ptolemaic era (305-30 BC) at the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel in Egypt's southern Minya province, about 340 kilometres south of the capital Cairo, Feb. 2, 2019.
A newly-discovered mummies wrapped in linen found in burial chambers dating to the Ptolemaic era (305-30 BC) at the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel in Egypt's southern Minya province, about 340 kilometres south of the capital Cairo, Feb. 2, 2019.
Mohamed EL-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images

The remains, which have not been identified, were likely from the same upper-middle class family, according to a statement from the antiquities ministry.

"All are in a good conservation condition," the ministry said in the statement. "Some of them were buried inside stone or wooden sarcophagi while others were buried in sands or on the floors of the tombs or inside niches."

PHOTO: A partially-uncovered skull of a newly-discovered mummy wrapped in linen found in a burial chamber dating to the Ptolemaic era (305-30 BC) at the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel in Egypt, Feb. 2, 2019.
A partially-uncovered skull of a newly-discovered mummy wrapped in linen found in a burial chamber dating to the Ptolemaic era (305-30 BC) at the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel in Egypt, Feb. 2, 2019.
Mohamed EL-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images

Researchers from the ministry and Minya University "stumbled upon" the grave last February at the Tuna el-Gebel archaeological site, which was the necropolis of the ancient city of Hermopolis.

There, they uncovered "a tomb engraved in rock composed of a corridor leading to sloping stairs that opened to a rectangular chamber with a number of burials," according to the ministry.

PHOTO: A newly-discovered mummies wrapped in linen found in burial chambers dating to the Ptolemaic era (305-30 BC) at the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel in Egypt, Feb.2, 2019.
A newly-discovered mummies wrapped in linen found in burial chambers dating to the Ptolemaic era (305-30 BC) at the necropolis of Tuna el-Gebel in Egypt, Feb.2, 2019.
Mohamed EL-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images

They later located more chambers "filled with mummies and large stone sarcophagi."

PHOTO: A mummy is seen inside the newly excavated tombs in Tuna el-Gebel necropolis of Minya province south of the capital Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 2, 2019.
A mummy is seen inside the newly excavated tombs in Tuna el-Gebel necropolis of Minya province south of the capital Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 2, 2019.
Ahmed Gomaa/Xinhua/Newscom

Fragments of pottery and papyri helped archaeologists date the burial site back to the Ptolemaic era, the last dynasty of ancient Egypt, which lasted from 323 BC to 30 BC.

ABC News' Randa Ali contributed reporting from Cairo.

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