Elaborate Coffins of Ancient Egypt Shed Light on Its Hidden History

The mysteries and secrets of ancient Egypt are unending. This year, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities discovered over 100 elaborately-decorated wooden coffins in the Saqqara necropolis. These coffins seem to date back 2500 years, which places them in Egypt’s late period. What do these latest finds say about the life and death-related rituals of Ancient Egyptians?

trove of over 100 sarcophagi in EgyptElaborate Coffins Found in Egypt

As the newly-found coffins date back 2500 years, they’re well past the time of the great pharaohs that were buried in elaborate pyramids and multi-chambered tombs. These wooden coffins were found in underground chambers and were in stacks of two or three. Many of them contain well-preserved, mummified human remains. An archeologist from the University of Tübingen, Ramadan Hussein explained how, around 650 B.C., Egypt started becoming a power in the Mediterranean once more, moving the center of power back to Memphis, and enjoying a period of thriving and looking back on the values and traditions from 1000 years back. That’s how Saqqara becomes the main burial ground once more.

Death Became a Lucrative Business

The elaborate decorations on the coffins and the richness of the funerals reflect the wealth of the city and its officials at that time. The new revival of old traditions and late practices is evident in these coffins, as they have inscriptions replicating old religious texts and very fine decorations. As an international power at that time, Egypt was home to different ethnicities whose influences can be seen in the grave goods. Examples of this are silver masks made from imported metals, precious oils, pottery, and more.

Archaeological excavationThe coffins themselves were made from expensive wood that was imported from Southern Europe. This indicates the extent to which death had become a big business and people would pay for a nice coffin and a burial spot in a sacred location. Archeologists predict that more of these discoveries are yet to come as more burial shafts wait to be unearthed.