Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 13 November 2019

Egypt reveals details of 30 ancient coffins found in Luxor

the coffins, with inscriptions and paintings, were found in the Asasif Necropolis on the River Nile's west bank near Luxor

Egypt's antiquities authority has revealed the details of 30 ancient wooden coffins recently discovered in the southern city of Luxor.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters on Saturday that the coffins, with inscriptions and paintings, were found in the Asasif Necropolis on the River Nile's west bank near Luxor.

He says the coffins were for men, women and children from the 22nd dynasty (945 B.C. 715 B.C.), and had been collected and hidden by a priest for fear of being looted.

The necropolis, located in the ancient town of West Thebes, includes tombs dating back to the Middle, New Kingdom and the Late Periods (1994 BC to 332 BC).

He says the coffins were in two layers, with the ones on top across those below.

Photos from the ministry released earlier in the week showed coloured coffins, discoveries that the ministry described it as the "biggest and most important" in recent years.

Egypt has sought publicity for its archaeological discoveries in the hopes of reviving its tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

Earlier this year, a gilded coffin stolen from Egypt but acquired two years ago by the Metropolitan Museum in New York City made its way back home.

The 2,100-year-old relic was looted and smuggled out of Egypt in 2011.

The museum unknowingly acquired the artefact in 2017 from a global art trafficking network using fraudulent documents, officials said. The antique was bought from a Paris art dealer for $4 million (Dh 14.69m) and made the centre piece of an exhibition.

The museum was given a forged 1971 Egyptian export licence, among other false documents, prosecutors told US local media.

The relic dates back to the 1st century BC and was owned by a priest called Nedjemankh.

The coffin will be put on display in Egypt next year.

Updated: October 19, 2019 04:18 PM

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