Mummies discovered in burial shaft in Egypt

The findings are being carefully restored.

(CNN) -- Right now, most of us can only explore the pyramids and archaeological wonders of Egypt online, but excavations and explorations into the country's ancient past remain ongoing.

Egypt's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has announced the unearthing of five limestone sarcophagi and four wooden coffins containing human mummies. These incredible archaeological finds were inside a burial shaft stretching nine meters below ground.

This shaft is located in Sacred Animal Necropolis in Saqqara, an ancient burial ground that's about 20 miles south of Cairo and is also home to landmarks including the Step Pyramid, considered to be the world's oldest.

Details of the discovery were shared via a video posted on the ministry's Facebook page earlier this month.

Also excavated from the shaft were an incredible array of small artifacts, including 365 faience ushabti figurines, some inscribed with hieroglyphics. Ushabti are objects, usually small statues, that were buried in Egyptian graves to aid the body in its afterlife.

Inside the burial shaft, there was also a small wooden obelisk about 40 centimeters tall, painted with scenes featuring the Egyptian goddesses Isis, associated with rebirth, and Nephthys, associated with death, and the god Horus, one of the most renowned ancient Egyptian deities.

These small artifacts were removed from the shaft for restoration purposes. The sarcophagi and wooden coffins are being restored inside the shaft, says the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Archaeological work began in this area in April 2018 and remains ongoing.

In the video, Khaled Al-Anani, Egypt's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, says workers are "keeping the necessary distance" in order to protect themselves from coronavirus.

Amazing discoveries

There have been a spate of recent archaeological discoveries in Egypt, following ongoing restoration projects.

On April 24, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities also announced the uncovering of a mummy that dates back to Egypt's 17th dynasty, circa 1550 BCE.

A joint Egyptian-Spanish archaeological mission discovered the coffin in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis in Luxor, in the south of Egypt.

The mummifed young woman is believed to have been around 15 or 16 years old at time of death. According to Mohamed Abdul Budaiya, head of the central administration of upper Egypt, the mummy was buried with jewelry, including four necklaces made of materials including blue glass, quartz and amethyst.

Close by, archaeologists also discovered red leather sandals and a pair of leather balls tied to each other with thread. Also buried nearby were two mummified cats -- and another smaller coffin, with a wooden ushabti inside.

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