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An Egyptian worker brushes away the sand on one of eight revealed sarcophagi found inside a 26th Dynasty limestone sarcophagus along with other mummies at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, south of Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass has unveiled a completely preserved mummy inside a limestone sarcophagus sealed 2,600 years ago during pharaonic times. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Archeologists in Egypt discovered an ancient necropolis filled with at least 17 mummies

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An Egyptian archaeological mission led to the discovery of a necropolis holding at least 17 mummies near the Nile Valley of Minya, the first such find in the area, the antiquities ministry said Saturday. In the village of Tuna al-Gabal, archaeologists stumbled upon the large, ancient are which housed thousands of mummified ibis, baboon birds and other animals. The site also included tombs and a funerary building.

Eight meters below ground level, the site dates back to the Late Period of Ancient Egypt and the Greco-Roman period.

"It's the first human necropolis to be found here in Tuna al-Gabal," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told reporters at the site, some 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo. 

"It's the first human necropolis to be found here in Tuna al-Gabal," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told reporters at the site, some 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo. 

He also described the mummies as elaborately preserved, meaning it was likely they belong to officials and priests 

The discovery included six sarcophagi, two clay coffins, two papyri written in demotic script as well as a number of vessels, al-Anani continued.

The find is expected to grow. Al-Anani pointed to edges of the necropolis where legs and feet of mummies were visible. 

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