17 mummies in catacombs found in Egypt

It is the first discovery of its kind in central Egypt

17 mummies in catacombs found in Egypt

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Archaeologists in Egypt have found 17 mummies in catacombs in Minya province, south of Cairo, the antiquities ministry announced on Saturday.

The ministry said in a statement that the non-royal mummies were found in a series of corridors after following the trail of burial shafts in the Touna-Gabal district of the central Egyptian province.

They also found a golden sheet and two papyri in Demotic, an ancient Egyptian script, as well as a number of sarcophogi made of limestone and clay.

Animal and bird coffins were also found according to the ministry, but as of yet the mummies have not been dated.

The mummies are thought to belong to the Late Period, which spanned almost 300 years up to Alexander the Great's conquest of Egypt in 332 BC.

Unprecedented discovery 

The discovery of the mummies is considered unprecedented because it is the first of its kind in that area. 

Egyptologist Salah al-Kholi said the discovery was "the first human necropolis found in central Egypt with so many mummies," before saying "It could herald even more discoveries in the area."

Mohamed Hamza, director of excavations for Cairo University said the discovery was "important and unprecedented."

It is the second discovery of mummies in less than a month.

Back in April, eight mummies were discovered in a 3,500-year-old tomb belonging to a nobleman.