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Dozens of New Sealed Mummies Have Just Been Discovered! Let’s Open Them. What Could Go Wrong!

An Egyptian archeologist inspects a mummy in a limestone sarcophagus discovered along many finds in 3000-year-old communal tombs dedicated to high priests, in Al-Ghoreifa in Tuna al-Jabal in the Minya governorate, on January 30, 2020. - Egypt's antiquities ministry unveiled 16 tombs of ancient high priests containing 20 sarcophagi, including one dedicated to the sky god Horus, discovered at the archaeological site, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Cairo. The shared tombs were dedicated to high priests of the god Djehuty and senior officials, from the Late Period, the ministry said. (Photo by Mohamed el-Shahed / AFP) (Photo by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images)

Remember in 2018 when Egyptologists found a “mysterious black sarcophagus” that was leaking weird red ooze in Alexandria? Remember when scientists opened it because curses aren’t real, right? And the world couldn’t possibly get worse than it was then? Welp, now we’re certainly living in a timeline that seems particularly cursed so … why not dig up more mummies and see what happens now? Heck, maybe that will fix things!

Joking aside (for now), archeologists in Egypt have made a discovery that’s truly cool: a week ago, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery of thirteen coffins found at the bottom of a well, and just two days ago they announced that they had found 14 more, for a total on 27 sarcophagi.

This find is located in Saqqara, which is about 20 miles south of Cairo, and close to the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the oldest Pyramid in Egypt. The area is a necropolis, full of tombs and burial shafts like this one, but the discovery of so many coffins, likely with intact mummies inside, is amazing. This is from Khaled El-Enany, Egypt’s minister of tourism.

If that looks like an advertisement … it is. Tourism, especially of their ancient sites, is a massive part of Egypt’s economy. Both digs and visits to Egypt’s historical sites were shut down, like everything else in the world, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now things are getting back on track. And what a track they’re on! This discovery is, according to El-Enany, “the largest number of coffins in one burial since the discovery of the Al-Asasif cachette.” That discovery of over 30 coffins in 2019 was the largest in a century.

Wait, so … we dug up 30 mummies in 2019? After we opened the leaking black sarcophagus (the liquid was just sewage by the way). What could go wrong?

Is bringing up more dead … advisable?

Yes! These are amazing discoveries. The mummies are thought to be around 2,500 years old (which is about 2,000 years younger than the nearby step pyramid) but we don’t know exactly. Archeologists don’t know who the coffins and mummies belong to, but they were probably important. Other artifacts have been discovered in the 30-meter deep burial shaft, including tokens meant to guard and guide these people on their journeys to the afterlife. Also found: a 40-centimeter wooden obelisk with inscriptions to the Goddess Nephtys and the God Horus.

And about those curses … well, who knows. Most curses associated with Egyptian burial sites were about stopping grave robbers, and many were hyped for sensational reasons in the era when archeologists were making a lot of discoveries. But it’s pretty hard to argue that 2020 isn’t cursed. At this point though, what could be worse?

(Via: CNN, image: MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.