Feb. 2 (UPI) -- More than 40 mummies from 305 to 20 B.C. have been discovered in burial chambers in Minya, the desert province in Egypt.
Hundreds of media and government officials, including ambassadors and cultural attaches from 11 foreign countries, on Saturday saw firsthand the first discovery announced this year in Egypt, Ahram Online reported.
A joint mission from the Antiquities Ministry and the Research Center for Archaeological Studies at Minya University discovered a collection of Ptolemaic-era rock burial chambers from 305 to 20 B.C., 160 miles south of Cairo. They included mummies of different sizes and genders, including 12 children, in four burial chambers, BBC reported.
"The newly discovered tombs are a familial grave which was probably for a family from the upper middle class," Khaled El-Enany, the minister of antiquities, said at the event.
Some mummies have fragments of colored cartonnage covers -- material used in ancient Egyptian funerary masks from the First Intermediate Period to the Roman era -- near their feet.
"The methods used in burying the mummies inside the maze of tombs varies in style," said Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Because ostraca, which is writing surface, and fragments of papyri were also found in the tomb, it helped reveal that it dated to the Ptolemaic period.
Waziri explained some mummies were inside stone or wooden sarcophagi, and others were buried in sand or were laid on the floors of the tombs or inside niches.
The mission started its work in Tuna El-Gebel in February 2018. It discovered a tomb engraved in rock composed of a corridor leading to sloping stairs that went to a rectangular chamber with a number of burials.
Also, a chamber was also discovered at the western side filled with mummies and large stone sarcophagi. On the north side, a chamber contained collection of stone sarcophagi inside niches.
The archaeological site includes the tomb of Petosiris, the Isadora tomb, a sacred animal ceremony, a Roman cemetery and two frontier reliefs of king Akhenaten.
Egypt "has it all," Rania Al-Mashat, the minister of tourism, said at the event