CAIRO Japanese archaeologists working in Egypt have found four wooden sarcophaguses and associated grave goods which could date back up to 3,300 years, the Egyptian government said on Thursday.
The team from Waseda University in Tokyo discovered the anthropomorphic sarcophaguses in a tomb in the Sakkara necropolis, about 25 km (15 miles) south of Cairo, the Supreme Council for Antiquities said in a statement.
Sakkara, the burial ground for the ancient city of Memphis, remains one of the richest sources of Egyptian antiquities. Archaeologists say much remains buried in the sands.
The tomb also contained three wooden Canopic jars, in which ancient Egyptians tried to preserve internal organs, and four boxes for ushabti figures, the miniature statues of servants to serve the dead person in the afterlife, the statement said.
The sarcophaguses did not contain mummies because the tomb was robbed in ancient times but have the original black and yellow paintwork showing ancient Egyptian gods, it said.
One of the ushabti boxes is in excellent condition and was unopened but most of the 38 wooden figurines inside were broken. It belonged to a man by the name of Tut Bashu, who was the original owner of one of the coffins.
Another sarcophagus belonged to someone called Ari Saraa. The statement gave no further details of the dead people but said the burials dated from the Ramesside period or the Late Dynastic Period -- anywhere between about 1300 and 330 BC.
(Writing by Jonathan Wright; Editing by Louise Ireland)