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Egypt cracks open 59 coffins buried over 2,500 years ago

Egyptian archaeologists have clearly pushed the idea of curses to the back of their minds as they open up 59 recently-discovered, ancient coffins.

Don’t ask me how, but last month, Egyptian archeologists managed to find not one, not two, but 13 ancient un-opened coffins. Then, upon further excavation, 13 turned into 59.

Now, against the gut instincts of the *entire world*, experts have decided to crack all 59 wide open.

Coffin
Photo: KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images

So for a bit of context, the original 13 coffins were found in a burial shaft in Saqqara, the desert necropolis. They were found 11 metres below the ground, stacked upon one another. Imagine then, the excavators’ excitement to discover that the number of coffins was, in fact, 59 – with a chance for even more to be found! All the more curses to unleash onto 2020, right?

“I am really impressed that Covid-19 did not stop them from digging to unveil more mystery and secrets about our great civilisation”, states antiquities minister Khaled El-Anany.

So with 59 unopened coffins on the table, what do you think happened next? Unsurprisingly, most of the sarcophagi were home to priest mummies and high-ranking officials. Many of the mummies were wrapped in burial cloth of brightly coloured hieroglyphics – something to keep the translators busy, no doubt.

However, the crown jewel thus far is undoubtedly the finding of a carved bronze statue of the god Nefertum. For you history buffs, Nerfertum is a youthful god, first mentioned in the pyramid texts in 2530 BCE, associated with the lotus blossom and perfume. The god was inlaid with valuable stones, many statues of Ptah-Soker, amulets, and an ushabti figurine. These figures were believed to serve as minions in the afterlife, so if you got one, you were kind of a big deal.

The opened coffins will now rest in their new home of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is on track to open next year. If the excavators stay this successful, they’ll have some more company from the ancient world in no time.

While we’ve got you: Watch the Red Hot Chilli Peppers perform at the Great Pyramids of Giza