Egyptian archaeologists have discovered an ancient burial site holding at least 17 mummies, most of them fully intact, which could date back two millennia.
The funerary site also includes six sarcophagi, two clay coffins, two papyri written in demotic script as well as a number of vessels, according to the antiquities ministry.
It was uncovered eight metres below ground in the Touna-Gabal district of Minya, a province about 250 km (150 miles) south of Cairo.
The mummies were elaborately preserved, therefore likely belong to officials and priests.
Work at the site, which is close to an ancient animal cemetery, is only at a preliminary stage, so the discovery could be much bigger.
As many as 32 mummies may be in the chamber, including mummies of women, children and infants, said Salah al Kholi, a Cairo University Egyptology professor who led the mission.
The mummies have not yet been dated but are believed to date to Egypt’s Greco-Roman period, a roughly 600-year span that followed the country’s conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, the researchers said.
Egypt hopes that recent discoveries can help revive its crucial tourism sector, which was hit hard by political turmoil since the 2011 uprising.
Archaeologists have excavated a slew of relics in recent months that include a nobleman’s tomb from more than 3,000 years ago; 12 cemeteries that date back about 3,500 years; and a giant colossus believed to depict King Psammetich I, who ruled from 664 to 610 BC.