The antiquities ministry formally unveiled the discovery created by Asasif, a necropolis in the west shore of the Nile River, in a press conference against the background of the Hatshepsut Temple.
'It is the first large human coffin cache ever discovered since the end of the 19th century, ' the Egyptian antiquities minister Khaled El-Enany was quoted as saying during a ceremony in Luxor.
"The last one was in 1891, [led by] foreigners".
Photo taken on October 19, 2019 shows the newly discovered coffins in Luxor, Egypt. "This is an indescribable feeling, I swear to God".
Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient painted coffin discovered at Al-Asasif Necropolis in the Valley of Kings in Luxor.
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They are estimated to be 3,000 years old, dating back to the 22nd dynasty of Egyptian pharaohs. Coffins which were carved with the hands open meant they were female, while if the hands were balled into fists, they held males, according to Waziri. The find was "completely by accident", archaeologist Zahi Hawass told Today.
"Some people, we don't have to mention names, don't want us to have these discoveries. that impress the world", said Enany before throngs of tourists, referring to detractors.
He says the coffins were in two layers, with the ones on top across those below.
On Saturday, glove-clad archaeologists delicately pried open two of the coffins to uncover perfectly preserved mummies - one man and one woman - wrapped in cloth. This is because ancient Egyptians used natural colors from stones, such as limestone, red oak, and turquoise, mixed with egg whites, according to Waziri.
Local antiquities ministry restorer Saleh Abdel-Gelil said: 'We only did remedial first-aid on these well-preserved coffins. When they continued to dig, 17 more coffins were found.
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The discovered coffins were placed by high priests to be stored in a store with a stone gate to prevent any robbery attempts.
It is likely that the coffins were exhumed and buried again to re-use the tombs at Mount Kurna, in successive eras from the ancient Egyptian state. "And that's really very interesting to know why they were buried in a cliff", El-Anany told reporters.
"This discovery will enrich our knowledge as Egyptologists about the belief of afterlife and the workshops that made all these attractive scenes", he told Xinhua.
A sealed coffin belonging to a young ancient Egyptian child was incomplete and unpainted. The coffins will be given their own exhibit.
He said the coffins will be moved in November to the Grand Egyptian Museum that Egypt is building near the famed Giza Pyramids in Cairo.
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