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Mummies, Priceless Artifacts Unearthed in 3,500-Year-Old Egyptian Tomb

Apr 19, 2017 01:32 PM EDT

An Egyptian dig yielded a spectacular haul from an ancient tomb: eight mummies, 10 intricately designed sacrophagi and more than 1,000 funerary figurines.

According to a report from Al Jazeera, the collection was unearthed from a 3,500-year-old tomb in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis that's located near the city of Luxor in southern Egypt.

The antiquities ministry of Egypt revealed that the 18th Dynasty main tomb belonged to nobleman Userhat, a city judge. During the 21st Dynasty (around 3,000 years ago), the Egyptian tomb was opened once more to stuff more mummies inside with the goal of protecting them during a time when robbers often stripped tombs from its treasures.

"It is a T-shaped tomb (which) consists of an open court leading into a rectangular hall, a corridor and an inner chamber," the ministry revealed in a statement.

The rich history of Userhat's tomb -- and its reopening to add even more mummies and their treasures to the mix -- led to the accumulation of a great number of artifacts that even shocked the archaeologists.

"It was a surprise how much was being displayed inside the tomb," Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany said. "We found a large number of Ushabti (small carved figurines), more than 1,000 of them. This is an important discovery."

Placed in a nine-meter shaft inside the Egyptian tomb, the Ushabti statues were believed to help the deceased with their responsibilities in the afterlife. Differently colored and patterned pots were also found nearby.

Sacrophagi, above ground stone coffins or stone containers that hold coffins, were also located and are beautifully colored with intricate drawings featuring the faces of the deceased. While there was a number that got broken over the centuries, most of the coffins were impressively well-preserved.

Eight mummies in total have been found in the Userhat's 3500-year-old Egyptian tomb, but the antiquities ministry's spokesperson said that evidence suggests there are more that could be uncovered in future excavations of the site.

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