Egyptian archaeologists have discovered mummified remains and thousands of well-preserved artifacts at a burial site of more than a dozen Egyptian priests.
Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Saturday the discovery of a necropolis near the city of Minya, south of Cairo in an area known to house ancient catacombs. The burial grounds date back to the late pharaonic period, which spans from 664 to 332 B.C.
"We will need at least five years to work on the necropolis," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said, "This is only the beginning of a new discovery."
The tombs discovered "belong to priests of the ancient Egyptian god Toth," according to a press statement from the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry. Toth, according to Egyptian historians, was revered as the god of knowledge and wisdom.
Archaeologists discovered the mummified remains of a high priest, which was covered in beads of ivory and crystal and decorated with a bronze collar as well as amulets of semi-precious stones.
They also found 13 other burial tombs, 40 limestone sarcophagi, a collection of more than 1,000 well-preserved figurines, and four canopic jars made of alabaster and inscribed with hieroglyphs.
Mostafa Waziri, head of the archaeological mission, says eight tombs have been uncovered so far and he expects more will be discovered soon.
In 2017, the ministry found a necropolis holding at least 17 mummies in the area of Tuna al-Gabal, which is also known as the site of tombs, a funerary building and a large necropolis for thousands of mummified ibis and baboon birds, as well as other animals.
Egypt hopes that recent discoveries across the country will help spur the vital tourism sector, partially driven by antiquities sightseeing, which was hit hard by political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.