"Such big number of discovered mummies revealed that there will be a large necropolis behind the shafts", the minister added. Archaeologists also uncovered a golden sheet, two papyri covered in an ancient Egyptian script called Demotic, and several limestone and clay sarcophagi as well as several mummified animals. Khaled al-Anani, the Antiques Minister, said the because of the way that the mummies have been preserved, it most likely means that they are officials or priests.
The minister of antiquities, Khaled al-Enany, announced the discovery on the site in the city of Minya, around 250 kilometres south of Cairo.
The discovery was made in the village of Tuna el-Gabal, a vast archaeological site on the edge of the western desert.
The Touna el-Gabal site existed during the Greco-Roman period, which prevailed between third century NC and third century AD.
There were also animal and bird coffins, the ministry said.
At the bottom of the shaft, archaeologists found that "there are many corridors and many burial places for mummies", said Mohamed Salah bn Mohamed Ahmed El-Kholy, a professor at Cairo University, at a press conference held this morning (May 13) at Tuna el-Gebel.
The discovery of the mummies is considered unprecedented because it is the first of its kind in that area. "News of antiquities are the things that attract the world to Egypt".
It was the second discovery of mummies announced with much fanfare by the government in less than a month.
Chairman of Cairo University, Gaber Nassar, said "we will continue to fund the antiquities discoveries in Touna el-Gabal district, and turn it into an important center at the tourist map of Egypt".
But a popular uprising in 2011 that overthrew veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak ushered in years of unrest that battered the economy and drove away tourists.
In April, eight mummies were uncovered inside a 3,500-year-old tomb in the southern city of Luxor.