Egypt has displayed a trove of ancient artefacts dating back 2,500 years said to have been unearthed at the necropolis of Saqqara near Cairo.
The artefacts were showcased at a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, 15 miles south west of the Egyptian capital.
The finds include 250 painted sarcophagi with well-preserved mummies inside, as well as 150 bronze statues of ancient deities and bronze vessels used in rituals of Isis, the goddess of fertility in ancient Egyptian mythology, all from the Late Period, about 500BC, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziri said.
A headless bronze statue of Imhotep, the chief architect of Pharaoh Djoser, who ruled ancient Egypt between 2630BC and 2611BC, was also displayed.
The artefacts will be moved for a permanent exhibit at the new Grand Egyptian Museum, a major project still under construction near the Giza Pyramids, just outside Cairo.
The Saqqara site is part of a sprawling necropolis at Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis that includes the Giza Pyramids and the smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh.
The ruins of Memphis were designated a Unesco World Heritage site in the 1970s.
Egypt has been heavily promoting recent archaeological finds, hoping to attract more tourists to the country.
Its tourist sector, a major source of foreign currency, suffered from years of political turmoil and violence following the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The sector has recently started to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, only to be hit again by the effects of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Along with Russia, Ukraine is a major source of tourists visiting Egypt.