Giant trove of ancient coffins and mummies unearthed a century after Tutankhanum discovery
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An entire century after Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered, archaeologists in Egypt are continuing to find new - or rather, very old - treasures.
The news made headlines across the globe, but the findings didn't stop there, because archaeologists have now found a huge trove of ancient coffins and mummies.
The new discovery has been made at the Saqqara site in Giza, Egypt, located about 20 miles south of Egypt's capital.
It has been found to be home to numerous artefacts relating to another pharaoh, King Teti, whose followers worshipped him as a god for 1,000 years after his death, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass told NBC News.
Teti was the first king of the Sixth Dynasty of ancient Egypt, and is believed to have ruled for approximately 12 years between 2300 and 2181 BC.
The team has found close to 300 coffins in the vicinity of King Teti's pyramid this year, prompting Hawass to express belief that there may have been so many buried in the same place because 'Teti was worshipped as a god in the New Kingdom, and everyone wanted to be buried alongside him'.
Most of the coffins were found to be in good condition.
As well as the coffins and mummies, those involved in the dig have uncovered ceramic amulets believed to have been used in burial rituals and thick papyrus documents, as well as the remains of people thought to be King Tutankhamun's closest generals and advisers.
Hawass told NBC the site, which includes a network of underground rooms beneath the oldest pyramids in Egypt, could become 'the most important site in Egypt' within the next couple of years.
“I always say that we found until now only 30 percent of our monuments are still there, 70 percent are buried underneath the ground,” he explained.
Now that the bodies have been uncovered, the mummies will be exhumed from the site and archaeologists will X-ray them to determine their ages at death and what might have killed them.
The team will then carry out a process of conservation, and record any newly uncovered antiquities.
The coffins and antiquities found at the site will likely be displayed in the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, according to Hawass, alongside numerous objects which are associated with Tutankhamun.
Tutankhamun is believed to have become pharaoh when he was just eight or nine years old, in around 1334 BC.
He ruled until his death 10 years later, and is thought to have suffered from numerous illnesses and disabilities.
The Giza museum is currently scheduled to open next year.