Egypt on Saturday announced the unearthing of a cache of ancient coffins at a major necropolis near Cairo, the second such find in the same area this year.

Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said Egyptian archaeologists had found over 100 sealed, intact human coffins and 40 funerary masks and statues in three shafts at the Saqqara necropolis near the famed pyramid of King Djoser. The coffins have been closed for over 2,500 years.

In October, Egypt announced the discovery of 59 well-preserved and colourfully decorated ancient coffins in the same area.

“Saqqara has shown only 1 per cent of what it has.

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“If we continue our excavations, various human and animal tombs are expected to be found in it. It’s a very rich area.

“The artefacts announced Saturday date back to ancient Egypt’s Late Period and the Ptolemaic era,” al-Anani said at a televised news conference at the site.

People look at ancient sarcophagi discovered in a vast necropolis in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Egyptian antiquities officials on Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues south of Cairo. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

According to al-Anani, the collection would be put on show at Egypt’s three main museums, including the Grand Egyptian Museum being built next to the Giza pyramids.

Egypt has in recent years announced a string of archaeological discoveries in several parts of the nation in an attempt to revive its battered tourism industry, which is a main source of national income.

Tourism has been hard hit since the 2011 uprising against long-time dictator Hosny Mubarak and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.