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Egyptian Ministry Claims 'Million Mummies' Study is False

Dec 19, 2014 04:58 PM EST

Nature World News reported just yesterday of a mysterious Egyptian cemetery that holds over a million mummies. But now the Egyptian antiquities ministry has come out refuting these claims, saying the "million mummies" study is false.

The Brigham Young University (BYU) team from Utah says they have been excavating the Egyptian cemetery, called "Fag El Gamous," for about 30 years. And despite the fact that the nearby village would have had too small of a population to create such a mass grave, and that the nearest large town had it own cemetery, researchers were still confident that the site held over a million mummies.

"We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It's large, and it's dense," BYU's Project Director Kerry Muhlestein had told Live Science.

However, according to a ministry statement, the American team gave false information to a British newspaper about its excavations.

"There's no way that cemetery has a million mummies, there are maximum a few thousand," Yousef Khalifa, chairman of the Egyptian antiquities sector," told the Daily News Egypt. "Even if the cemetery is huge, it would take the bodies to be buried over each other and upon each other to fit in the space," he added.

The cemetery dates back to the 1st century to the 7th century AD when the Roman or Byzantine Empire controlled Egypt. But the site largely remains a mystery as the researchers have yet to identify where the bodies - of common and not royal descent - came from.

This discovery may seem amazing, but Khalifa tells Ahram Online that the findings are "unfounded." According to the ministry, since the American mission has been working at the site they have only unearthed one mummy, back in 1980. The remains are currently on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Not only do the facts of the BYU team contradict those of the Egyptian ministry sector, but the researchers failed to receive approval of their discovery from the ministry first, which may have avoided this whole debacle.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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