Cairo ( Associated Press) – Egypt on Monday displayed a collection of 2,500-year-old ancient artifacts that the country’s antiquities officials said were recently discovered in the famous cemetery of Saqqara, near Cairo.
The artifacts were displayed in a temporary exhibition at the steps of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, 24 kilometers (15 mi) southwest of the Egyptian capital.
According to Mustafa Vaziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the find includes 250 painted sarcophagi, with well-preserved mummies, as well as 150 bronze statues of ancient gods and goddesses of fertility used in rituals of Isis in ancient times. The go-to includes bronze vessels. Egyptian mythology, all from the Late Period, around 500 BC
A headless bronze statue of Imhotep, chief architect of Pharaoh Djoser, who ruled Ancient Egypt between 2630 BC and 2611 BC, was also displayed.
The artifacts will be moved for a permanent exhibition at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, a mega-project still under construction near the famous Giza Pyramids outside Cairo.
The Saqqara site is part of a larger necropolis in Egypt’s ancient capital, Memphis, which includes the Giza Pyramids and smaller pyramids at Abu Sar, Dahshur and Abu Ruwesh. The ruins of Memphis were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1970s.
Egypt has been promoting recent archaeological discoveries in hopes of attracting more tourists to the country. Its tourism sector, a major source of foreign exchange, was plagued by political turmoil and violence following the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic Hosni Mubarak.
The region has recently begun to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, only to be hit again by the effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine. Along with Russia, Ukraine is a major source of tourists visiting Egypt.