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See what sets this new find apart.

Jess McHugh
May 15, 2017

Archeologists in Egypt uncovered a necropolis containing more than 17 mummies south of Cairo, Agence-France Presse reported.

The find is "unprecedented" for the area, the antiquities ministry announced Saturday.

"2017 has been a historic year for archeological discoveries. It's as if it's a message from our ancestors who are lending us a hand to help bring tourists back," Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said at a news conference.

What sets these mummies apart from some of the most famous finds in the world is that these were not likely royal people. The may have been officials or priests, al-Anani said. 

Researchers are still working to date the mummies, but early estimates put their origins around the period of 600-300 B.C. Others have estimated that the people who are buried in the tomb would have lived during the Greco-Roman period, which started in 332 B.C. and lasted 600 years, according to Reuters.

The tomb also contained two papyri, a golden sheet, and animal coffins, according to AFP.

The mummies are one of several recent archeological finds in Egypt — including the discovery of an ancient smooth-sided pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis outside of Cairo — that locals hope will bring tourists back to the region.

KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

While tourism related to ancient pyramids, tombs, and mummies had once comprised a healthy portion of Egypt’s economy, the country has struggled to welcome tourists in the aftermath of a 2011 regime change that plunged the country into chaos.

A series of several high-profile air disasters in the past five years, coupled with a 2013 military coup and recent attacks from the Islamic State group, have dealt further blows to Egypt’s tourist appeal. Around 9.3 million people visited the country in 2015, compared to 14.7 million in 2010, according to Reuters.

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