Archaeologists have discovered what is believed to be a mummification workshop near the Saqqara necropolis at the famed Giza pyramids complex, Antiquities Ministry officials said Saturday.
"A joint Egyptian-German mission of archaeologists have discovered a 30-meter-deep shaft dating back to the 26th dynasty," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told a press conference at the site of the discovery. Al-Anani said pottery containing oils used in mummification, along with 35 mummies, five sarcophagi and one wooden coffin were found in the shaft.
"This is the beginning of a new discovery... we still need a lot of work in the site," the minister said.
Saqqara necropolis is part of the larger Memphis Necropolis, which is inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the team started its work in the area in March 2016, and discovered the shaft between April and mid-May 2018.
"Only one of the five discovered sarcophagi has been unsealed," he said. "This is a very rich site and the area is promising."
The mummification chemicals found in the shaft are similar to those discovered in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 2006, added Waziri.
Earlier this year, archaeologists discovered a number of artifacts in Egypt, including an ancient cemetery in the southern city of Minya and a 4,400-year-old tomb near the Giza Pyramids.
In March last year, a massive colossus was also unearthed in Cairo, believed to depict 26th-dynasty King Psamtik.
A major museum is under construction near the Pyramids and is due to be partially opened later this year. The museum will be home to a large collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.
Egypt is seeking to revive its battered tourism industry, a main source of national income.
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