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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.

The mummies have been elaborately preserved and are thought to have been officials and priests.

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered on Saturday 17 mummies in catacombs in Minya province, in central Egypt, the antiquities ministry announced on Saturday.

The archaeological site where the discovery was made is located in the collage of Tuna al-Gabal which is on the edge of the western desert.

The burial site where the mummies were found is believed to date back to the Late Period of Ancient Egypt.

The burial chamber was first detected a year ago by a team of Cairo University students using radar technology.

Mohamed Hamza, director of excavations for Cairo University said the discovery was "important and unprecedented".

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"The discovery is still at its beginning", Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told reporters.

Egyptian authorities hope that new discoveries will improve the tourism image of the country and revive interest among travelers to avoid visiting Egypt after the 2011 uprising.

"We found catacombs containing a number of mummies", said Salah al-Kholi, a Cairo University Egyptology professor.

"2017 - historic in terms of archaeological discoveries".

The mummies in this necropolis is not the only new discovery to come out of Egypt in recent months.

The 18th dynasty tomb, discovered in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the famed Valley of the Kings, belonged to a nobleman named Userhat who worked as the city judge. Figures from 2016 are not yet available.