The colorful strokes, painted millennia ago, are still visible beneath a layer of dirt, which is partly why Egypt's antiquities ministry is celebrating the discovery of more than 20 ancient coffins as one of the "largest and most important" finds in the country in recent years. But the brightly-colored paintings and inscriptions are just part of the fascination. The wooden coffins stacked in two layers are sealed just "as the ancient Egyptians left them," CNN quotes a ministry statement as saying. They were discovered at Asasif, on the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor, not far from the Valley of the Kings. Asasif is home to tombs from both the Late Period (664-332BC) and the 18th Dynasty (1550-1292BC), from which came the rulers Hatshepsut, Akhenaton, and Tutankhamun, per the BBC.
More information is to be revealed at a Saturday news conference. It will come just over a week after the ministry announced the discovery of a manufacturing area, firmly dated to the 18th Dynasty, in the Valley of the Monkeys, to the west of the Valley of the Kings, per Reuters. Egyptologists found 30 workshops apparently used to construct funerary furniture and ornaments, a large kiln, a water storage tank used by workers, and various coffin decorations—including some depicting the wings of god Horus, who's associated with death and resurrection. They represent the first evidence of funerary items being produced on an "industrial scale" in Egypt, archeologist Zahi Hawass tells CNN, adding the excavation will "shed a light on the tools and techniques used" to create royal tombs. (Read more discoveries stories.)