Egypt discovers new necropolis in Minya, first in area

Mummy discovery

They have found 17 mummies in the catacombs of Minya province located at the south of Cairo.

The discovery was made in the village of Tuna al-Gabal, a vast archaeological site on the edge of the western desert.

During excavation work in the area, which neighbours the birds and animals necropolis, a mission from Cairo University stumbled this week upon the cachette - a term that describes an unmarked burial site used to house multiple mummies and protect them from looting.

The mummies were elaborately preserved therefore likely belong to officials and priests, he said.

The necropolis, which is eight metres below ground level, dates back to the Late Period of Ancient Egypt and the Greco-Roman period, the minister noted.

Egyptian authorities hope that new discoveries will improve the tourism image of the country and revive interest among travelers to avoid visiting Egypt after the 2011 uprising.

"We found catacombs containing a number of mummies", said Salah al-Kholi, a Cairo University Egyptology professor.

"It's like a message from our ancestors that serve us, to bring tourists", - said on Saturday at a press conference Minister of Egypt on Affairs of antiquities, Khaled Anani.

In March, pharaoh statues, dating back 3,700 years, were discovered in a muddy pit in a suburb of Cairo.

Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed said last month the new finds could boost tourist arrivals this year to about 10 million, an improvement from the 9.3 million visitors that came in 2015 but still far below the 14.7 million from 2010. Figures from 2016 are not yet available.

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