By Ian Krietzberg
A team of Egyptian archaeologists discovered a “‘huge cache’” of more than 20 well-preserved coffins on Oct. 16 in a two-level tomb that makes up part of the ancient city of Thebes, which equates to the present city of Luxor, according to CNN.
While the initial findings occurred on Oct. 16, the contents of the sarcophagi, including 3,000-year-old, well-preserved mummies, were not revealed until Oct. 19, according to The New York Post.
The archaeologists stumbled into the discovery accidentally, according to NBC News. The team was conducting an unrelated dig on the west bank of the Nile River when its members noticed a coffin and continued digging. They found 30 more coffins just two feet beneath the surface.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities described the find as “one of the largest and most important discoveries that have been announced in the past few years,” as the coffins are well-preserved, discovering them in way they were left by ancient Egyptians, according to a press statement.
The corpses, according to The New York Post, were completely wrapped in cloth, and included the bodies of at least two children, making this find incredibly rare.
Archaeologist Zahi Hawass told CNN that the findings will “‘enrich (people’s) knowledge as Egyptologists about the belief of the afterlife.’”
Both the mummies and the coffins will be restored and put on display in a museum of Ancient Egyptian artifacts near the Pyramids of Giza, according to CNN. The exhibit will be opening by the end of 2020.
“‘It is the first large human coffin cache ever discovered since the end of the 19th century,’” said Khaled El-Enany, the Egyptian antiquities minister, while describing the discovery, according to The New York Post.