Archaeologists find ancient painted coffins

(AFP) A team of Egyptian archaeologists have discovered several painted wooden coffins, including some dating back to the 13th century BC rule of pharaoh Ramses II.

“These coffins were found in the tombs of senior officials of the 18th and 19th dynasties,” near Saqqara, Zahi Hawass, the director of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities said on Thursday.

“Some coloured unopened coffins dating back to the sixth century BC were found as well as some coffins dating back to the time of Ramses II,” who ruled from 1279 to 1213 BC, he said.

Several statues were also found in the tombs which represent the owners of the coffins, said Ahmed Said who heads the Cairo University archaeological team that found the coffins.

The Saqqara burial grounds which date back to 2,700 BC and are dominated by the massive bulk of King Zoser’s step pyramid — the first ever built — were in continuous use until the Roman period, three millenniums later.

The vast cemeteries have yielded numerous discoveries from the Old and New Kingdoms.

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