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Egypt unveils ancient mummification workshops, tombs

Archaeologists have unearthed ancient embalming workshops used to mummify humans and animals at a necropolis just outside Cairo.

Egyptian authorities have uncovered ancient mummification workshops and tombs they say were discovered recently at a Pharaonic necropolis near Cairo.

The spaces were found in the sprawling necropolis of Saqqara, which is a part of Egypt's ancient capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, 30 kilometres south of Cairo.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the workshops had been used to mummify humans and sacred animals. They date back to the 30th Pharaonic Dynasty (380 BC to 343 BC) and Ptolemaic period (305 BC to 30 BC).

Inside the workshops, archaeologists found clay pots and other items apparently used in mummification, as well as ritual vessels, Waziri said.

The tombs, meanwhile, were for a top official from the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, and a priest from the New Kingdom, according to Sabri Farag, head of the Saqqara archaeological site.

In recent years, Egypt's government has heavily promoted new archaeological finds to international media and diplomats. It hopes that such discoveries will help attract more tourists to the country to revive an industry that suffered from political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

Tourism minister Ahmed Issa praised the work of the excavation team, saying the discoveries "continue to help promote Egypt in the global map as an archaeological and touristic spot."

"I assure you that Egypt, especially the archaeological site of Saqqara did not yet reveal its secrets and there are many more to come," he added.

with AP

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