The mummies were uncovered in an ancient funerary site eight meters below ground in Minya, a province about 250 km (150 miles) south of Cairo.
At least 17 mummies – most of them intact – are the latest in a string of discoveries in Egypt. The country’s ministry for antiquities hopes that the discovery could help revitalize Egypt’s struggling tourism sector.
The funerary site contained limestone and clay sarcophagi, animal coffins and papyrus inscribed with Demotic script.
According to a Cairo University Egyptology professor who led the excavation mission, as many as 32 mummies may still be in the chamber, including the mummies of women, children and infants.
While the mummies have not yet been dated, it is believed that they date to the country’s Greco-Roman period, a six century long rule of Hellenistic kings and Roman officials that followed the country’s conquest by the famous Greek general Alexander the Great.
“2017 has been a historic year for archaeological 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 told a news conference announcing the find on Saturday.
The turbulent events of the 2011 uprising which saw the overthrow of Egypt’s strongman Hosni Mubarak, seriously affected the country’s tourist sector – a vital branch of its economy.
Tourist arrivals in Egypt have dropped to 9.3 million in 2015, from 14.7 million in 2010.