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HIDDEN SECRETSThe tombs were found on a buried ridge that has only been partially excavated and could contain further artefacts from ancient Egypt

DOZENS of mummified cats have been unearthed in Egypt after archaeologists discovered a huge burial ground near the pyramids south of Cairo.

The collection was found in seven tombs which experts have been working on for the past six months on the edge of the King Userkaf pyramid complex at Saqqara, south of the capital.

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Three of the tombs found were filled with mummified catsCredit: AFP or licensors

As they were preparing the site to present the latest discoveries, archaeologists found the door of another tomb that remains sealed, Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters.

The tomb dates from the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom and is unusual because the facade and door are intact, meaning its contents may still be untouched, said Mohamed Youssef, director of the Saqqara area.

He said experts plan to open the tomb in the coming weeks.

The Fifth Dynasty ruled Egypt from about 2,500 BC to 2,350 BC, not long after the great pyramid of Giza was built.

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Experts say lots more discoveries could be unearthed in the tomb complexCredit: AFP or licensors
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Dozens of mummified cats have been foundCredit: Alamy Live News
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Statues of felines have also been discoveredCredit: Alamy Live News
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Two large scarabs wrapped in linen and in very good condition were found inside a limestone sarcophagusCredit: Alamy Live News
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Archaeologists found the door of another tomb that remains sealedCredit: Alamy Live News
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Experts are still excavating the tombsCredit: Alamy Live News
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A bronze statue dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet was unearthedCredit: Alamy Live News
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The tombs date from the Fifth DynastyCredit: Alamy Live News
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Experts have been working on the King Userkaf pyramid complexCredit: Alamy Live News
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Ancient Egyptians worshipped Bastet, the cat goddessCredit: Alamy Live News

The tombs lie in a buried ridge that has only partially been uncovered and could offer many more similar discoveries, Waziri said.

Excavations in the area had halted in 2013 before resuming earlier this year.

Saqqara served as the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than 2,000 years.

Ancient Egyptians used animal mummies as religious offerings.

Two large scarabs wrapped in linen and in very good condition were found inside a limestone sarcophagus with a vaulted, decorated lid.

Another collection of scarab mummies was found inside a smaller sarcophagus.

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“The scarab is something really unique. It is something really a bit rare,” Waziri said.

“A couple of days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were sealed coffins with drawings of scarabs. I never heard about them before.”

Along with the cat mummies, gilded statues of felines were unearthed, including a bronze statue dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet.

The team also found painted wooden cobra and crocodile sarcophagi, a collection of gilded statues depicting animal features, as well as objects including amulets, canopic jars, writing tools and papyri baskets.

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