Ramses II-era sarcophagus unveiled at Saqqara

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A sarcophagus from the time of Ramses II unveiled at Saqqara

Workers transport an approximately 2,500-year-old sarcophagus from the recently discovered burial site near the Saqqara necropolis, Giza (archives).

Egypt on Monday unveiled a red granite sarcophagus in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, the latest in a series of landmark discoveries in the region.

The site of Saqqara, located just over 15 kilometers south of the famous Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for the famous step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser.

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The discovery of the sarcophagus of Ptah-em-uya, a high official under Ramses II who reigned over Egypt in the 13th century BC, was carried out by a team of Egyptian archaeologists from the Cairo University, according to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Descended from the nobility, Ptah-em-uya was royal secretary, chief overseer of livestock and head of the treasury of the Ramasseum, a memorial built to the glory of Ramesses II in Thebes, present-day Luxor. It was also responsible for offerings to all the gods of Upper and Lower Egypt, said Mostafa Waziri, director of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The Tomb of Ptah- em-uya was discovered last year, but recent excavations have uncovered the granite sarcophagus, covered with inscriptions to protect the deceased as well as scenes depicting his sons and the god Horus, according to the Ministry of Antiquities.

Sarcophagi around 2,500 years old, from the recently discovered burial site near the Saqqara necropolis, are displayed in Giza, May 30, 2022 (archives).

The site of Saqqara has revealed many archaeological treasures in recent years. Egypt announced in May the discovery of a cache containing 250 sarcophagi and 150 bronze statues.

Some critics believe that the frantic excavations in Egypt have given the priority to media spectacle rather than solid academic research, but Cairo is counting on these new discoveries to revive tourism, pending the inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), postponed several times.

Described as the largest archaeological museum in the world, the GEM is due to open this year.

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