Cairo: 57 ancient tombs, most of which hold an ornately painted wooden sarcophagus with a mummy inside, have been unearthed in Egypt, the country`s Supreme Council of Antiquities has said.
The oldest of the tombs, unearthed at Lahoun, in Fayoum, 100 km south of Cairo, date back to around 2750 B.C. during the period of Egypt`s first and second dynasties. Twelve tombs belong the 18th dynasty which ruled Egypt during the second millennium B.C., China Daily reported Monday citing a statement from the council.
The mummies are covered in linen decorated with religious texts from the "Book of the Dead" and scenes featuring ancient Egyptian deities, Egypt`s archaeology chief, Zahi Hawass, was quoted as saying.
In 31 tombs dating to around 2030-1840 B.C., there were drawings of different ancient Egyptian deities, such as Horus, Hathor, Khnum and Amun.
Some of the tombs are decorated with religious texts that ancient Egyptians believed would help the deceased cross through the underworld, Abdel Rahman El-Aydi, head of the mission that made the discovery, was quoted as saying.
One of the oldest tombs was found almost completely intact, with funeral equipment and a wooden sarcophagus containing a mummy wrapped in linen, he said.
In 2009, 53 tombs dating back to various ancient periods were found in the area.