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Queen pardons jailed killer who fended off London Bridge terrorist

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queen pardons jailed killer who fended off london bridge terrorist

The convicted murderer who helped foil the terror attack on London Bridge last November armed only with a narwhal tusk will see his sentence cut following an intervention by the Queen.

Steven Gallant, 42, was on day release at the event for reformed prisoners in Fishmonger’s Hall when he helped end Usman Khan’s rampage, which left two Cambridge graduates dead.

Jack Merrit, 25, and 23-year-old Saskia Jones – both part of the Learning Together scheme to help prisoners access education – were killed, while several others were wounded. 

Mr Gallant was pictured on the bridge tackling Khan with the whale trophy, slowing him down and preventing him from killing anyone else until police arrived and shot him dead.

The Queen has decided to grant Mr Merrit the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, which will see 10 months knocked off his sentence and mean he is eligible to go in front of  parole board next June,  which would be expected to rubber-stamp his freedom. 

Convicted murderer Steven Gallant (left), who helped foil the terror attack on London Bridge last November armed only with a narwhal tusk, will see his sentence cut following an intervention by the Queen. He is pictured with Jack Merrit - part of the Learning Together scheme to help prisoners access education - who was killed by terrorist Usman Khan

Convicted murderer Steven Gallant (left), who helped foil the terror attack on London Bridge last November armed only with a narwhal tusk, will see his sentence cut following an intervention by the Queen. He is pictured with Jack Merrit - part of the Learning Together scheme to help prisoners access education - who was killed by terrorist Usman Khan

Convicted murderer Steven Gallant (left), who helped foil the terror attack on London Bridge last November armed only with a narwhal tusk, will see his sentence cut following an intervention by the Queen. He is pictured with Jack Merrit – part of the Learning Together scheme to help prisoners access education – who was killed by terrorist Usman Khan

Steven Gallant, 42, was on day release at the event for reformed prisoners in Fishmonger's Hall when he helped end Khan's rampage (above), which left two Cambridge graduates dead, on Nov 29 last year. It was Gallant's first time out on licence after being jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years in 2005 for the murder of a firefighter in Hull

Steven Gallant, 42, was on day release at the event for reformed prisoners in Fishmonger's Hall when he helped end Khan's rampage (above), which left two Cambridge graduates dead, on Nov 29 last year. It was Gallant's first time out on licence after being jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years in 2005 for the murder of a firefighter in Hull

Steven Gallant, 42, was on day release at the event for reformed prisoners in Fishmonger’s Hall when he helped end Khan’s rampage (above), which left two Cambridge graduates dead, on Nov 29 last year. It was Gallant’s first time out on licence after being jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years in 2005 for the murder of a firefighter in Hull

The Ministry of Justice revealed on Saturday that the Queen had employed the little used 'Royal Prerogative of Mercy' to bring Gallant's case before the parole board 10 months early

The Ministry of Justice revealed on Saturday that the Queen had employed the little used 'Royal Prerogative of Mercy' to bring Gallant's case before the parole board 10 months early

The Ministry of Justice revealed on Saturday that the Queen had employed the little used ‘Royal Prerogative of Mercy’ to bring Gallant’s case before the parole board 10 months early

It was Gallant’s first time out on licence after being jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years in 2005 for the murder of a firefighter in Hull.

He helped restrain Khan, who was wearing fake suicide vest and armed with two knives, before the terrorist was shot dead by police.

The Ministry of Justice revealed on Saturday that the Queen had employed the little used ‘Royal Prerogative of Mercy’ to bring Gallant’s case before the parole board 10 months early.

The monarch used the power on the advice of Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: ‘The Lord Chancellor has granted Steven Gallant a Royal Prerogative of Mercy reducing his minimum tariff of 10 months in recognition of his exceptionally brave actions at Fishmongers’ Hall, which helped save people’s lives despite the tremendous risk to his own.’

The final decision ultimately rests with the parole board, but it is highly unlikely Gallant will be denied his freedom.

It is understood he has been a model prisoner who has expressed remorse for his crimes and has not faced any punishment or loss of privileges for the past 10 years.

Jack Merritt’s father David, 55, welcomed the news.

He told the Daily Mirror: ‘Steve fully deserves this pardon, or reduction in sentence.

Gallant helped restrain Usman Khan (above), who was wearing fake suicide vest and armed with two knives, before the terrorist was shot dead by police

Gallant helped restrain Usman Khan (above), who was wearing fake suicide vest and armed with two knives, before the terrorist was shot dead by police

Gallant helped restrain Usman Khan (above), who was wearing fake suicide vest and armed with two knives, before the terrorist was shot dead by police

‘It is fantastic. He was very close to Jack and he turned his life around and reformed. I am really pleased for him.’

Gallant has also participated in a number of interventions, including addressing previous substance abuse, and is in the process of studying for a business degree.

He was one of two men convicted of the murder of Barrie Jackson, 33, who was beaten to death outside a pub in Hull.

The pair lay in wait for Mr Jackson outside the Dolphin after believing he attacked Gallant’s girlfriend.

Jackson was sprayed with CS gas and beaten so savagely with a hammer by a group of men that paramedics were unable to find his mouth.

The previous year, Jackson had himself been cleared of the attempted murder of a 64-year-old woman – stamping on her face and dumping her unconscious in a skip. He was convicted of assault.

Jackson’s student son Jack, 21, told the Mirror: ‘In my mind, Gallant has nearly done his time and if someone has undergone rehabilitation and change, which it seems he has, then it’s fair enough.’   

‘I didn’t hesitate’: How Gallant heroically intervened during Khan’s terror attack 

Gallant spoke publicly in January about Khan’s rampage – saying he heard noises downstairs at Fishmongers’ Hall and went to investigate despite ‘orders to stay in the conference hall’.

In a statement issued through his lawyers, he said: ‘I could tell something was wrong and had to help. I saw injured people.’

Khan had fatally stabbed the two former Cambridge University students. 

The Ministry of Justice revealed on Saturday that the Queen had employed the little used 'Royal Prerogative of Mercy' to bring Gallant's case before the parole board 10 months early

The Ministry of Justice revealed on Saturday that the Queen had employed the little used 'Royal Prerogative of Mercy' to bring Gallant's case before the parole board 10 months early

The Ministry of Justice revealed on Saturday that the Queen had employed the little used ‘Royal Prerogative of Mercy’ to bring Gallant’s case before the parole board 10 months early

Gallant continued: ‘Khan was stood in the foyer with two large knives in his hands. He was a clear danger to all, so I didn’t hesitate.’ 

Using a chair and narwhal tusk handed to him by civil servant Darryn Frost, who revealed last month how he had also risked his life to take on the attacker, Gallant tried to hold Khan back.

He said: ‘Khan also showed us the bomb around his waist in an attempt to frighten us. We then chased him on to London Bridge and restrained him until the police arrived.’

Gallant and James Gilligan were jailed for carrying out a revenge attack on 33-year-old ex-fireman Mr Jackson.

The pair lay in wait for Mr Jackson outside a pub after believing he attacked Gallant’s girlfriend. 

He is thought to have been bludgeoned with a hammer, kicked and punched to death, according to a 2008 Court of Appeal judgment which dismissed Gallant’s application to quash the conviction.

But since going to prison, Gallant has ‘vowed never to turn to violence again’.

Instead he learnt to read and write and is now in his third year of a business studies degree.

He has co-written several plays, one of which was recently performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London, his lawyers at Hudgell Solicitors said.

Gallant said: ‘Nobody has the right to take another’s life and I offer my sincere apologies to my victim’s family for the hurt caused.

Using a chair and narwhal tusk handed to him by civil servant Darryn Frost (pictured), who revealed last month how he had also risked his life to take on the attacker, Gallant tried to hold Khan back

Using a chair and narwhal tusk handed to him by civil servant Darryn Frost (pictured), who revealed last month how he had also risked his life to take on the attacker, Gallant tried to hold Khan back

Reformed prisoner John Crilly (pictured) was also among those who fought the London Bridge terrorist - in his case, with a fire extinguisher

Reformed prisoner John Crilly (pictured) was also among those who fought the London Bridge terrorist - in his case, with a fire extinguisher

Using a chair and narwhal tusk handed to him by civil servant Darryn Frost (left), Gallant tried to hold Khan back.  Reformed prisoner John Crilly (right) was also among those who fought the London Bridge terrorist – in his case, with a fire extinguisher

‘I can never bring that life back, and it is right that I was handed a severe penalty for my actions. Once I’d accepted my punishment, I decided to seek help.

‘When you go to prison, you lose control of your life. Your own future relies on the decisions of others. Bettering yourself becomes one of the few things you can do while reducing the existing burden on society.’

Inspired by the Learning Together project after he met the founders, Gallant applied to take part from behind bars.

As part of the programme he has worked with a team of students in Cambridge producing legal advice guides and has become a mentor.

Losing course co-ordinators Mr Merritt and Miss Jones is an ‘unbearable blow’ and the ‘sense of loss is immense’, he said.

Mr Merritt, who Gallant met in 2016, was a ‘role model and friend’, he said, adding: ‘Jack didn’t care who you were, he cared about you and your future, he saw who you could become and did not define you by your past. I will miss him badly.’

Miss Jones was ‘highly respected and loved’ by those involved with the course, he added.

Gallant has resolved to ‘keep doing positive things’ and was ‘certain’ the pair would wish for the programme to continue.

Although initially reluctant to speak out, Gallant decided to come forward after Ministry of Justice employee Mr Frost revealed how he took on Khan.

Gallant said: ‘I would like to say a special thanks to Darryn.

‘Had he not passed me the narwhal tusk at that crucial moment, not only could I have been killed, the situation could have been even worse.’ 

Reformed prisoner John Crilly was also among those who fought the London Bridge terrorist – in his case, with a fire extinguisher.

Mr Crilly told of how he was ‘prepared to die’ to save other people’s lives.

He initially attacked Khan with a lectern as the fanatic stabbed staff at a prisoner rehabilitation conference. After the lectern snapped in half, he tried to batter Khan with a chair.

Mr Crilly, 48, then grabbed a fire extinguisher off the wall and sprayed foam at the fake suicide vest Khan was wearing.

The ex-convict told of how he tackled him while he still believed he was wearing a suicide vest and said: ‘I was screaming at him to blow it. I was prepared to lose my life.’

Mr Crilly, who served 13 years in prison for murder before his sentence was reduced to manslaughter, claims the police ‘took their time’ in deciding to shoot the terrorist, causing him to shout ‘shoot him’.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Two pubs in village on the Essex and Suffolk border are split by Covid lockdown rules

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two pubs in village on the essex and suffolk border are split by covid lockdown rules

Two pubs in the same village have been hit with different Covid rules – meaning locals are free to socialise with friends in one but banned in the other.

A mere 350 yards separates the The Eight Bells and Three Horseshoes, both of which are in the small English village of Bures.

But despite being in the same village, the two watering holes are actually in different counties.

Bures straddles the counties of Suffolk and Essex, with a tiny bridge over the River Stour splitting it in two.

It means the village, home to around 1,400 residents, now has a new invisible divide after the two counties were put into different categories of the government’s Covid alert system.

While Suffolk was classed as a Tier One area, neighbouring Essex was classified as a ‘high risk’ infection zone.

A mere 350 yards separates the The Eight Bells and Three Horseshoes, both of which are in the small English village of Bures

A mere 350 yards separates the The Eight Bells and Three Horseshoes, both of which are in the small English village of Bures

A mere 350 yards separates the The Eight Bells and Three Horseshoes, both of which are in the small English village of Bures

The Eight Bells pub on the Essex side of the village (pictured) is in an area under Tier 2 restrictions

The Eight Bells pub on the Essex side of the village (pictured) is in an area under Tier 2 restrictions

The Eight Bells pub on the Essex side of the village (pictured) is in an area under Tier 2 restrictions 

However the The Three Horseshoes (pictured), which is on the Suffolk side of the village, is under Tier 1 restrictions

However the The Three Horseshoes (pictured), which is on the Suffolk side of the village, is under Tier 1 restrictions

However the The Three Horseshoes (pictured), which is on the Suffolk side of the village, is under Tier 1 restrictions 

Those living in the Essex half of the village are now no longer able to meet for a drink with other households, while those on the Suffolk side can, providing they stick to the government’s rule of six.

What are the rules under Tier 1 and Tier Two restrictions? 

Under Tier 1 restrictions, currently in place across most of the country, including, in this case, Suffolk, people living in these areas must adhere to the current national Covid-19 rules.

These include the 10pm pub curfew, the Rule of Six, which prohibits social gatherings of more than six people in any setting, and face masks in public places.

Under Tier 2 restrictions, currently in place in areas such as the north east, parts of the north west, London and Essex, people in those areas must adhere to stricter rules.

The major change is in household mixing, with people in Tier 2 banned from mixing from other households in indoor settings. The Rule of Six still applies to outdoor settings, including pub gardens. 

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It means that The Eight Bells, in Essex, and Three Horseshoes, in Suffolk, now face different rules. 

But squeezed publicans say they won’t act as border guards  – claiming the Government rules are already devastating trade.

Willy Amos, 83, landlord of the Eight Bells, said: ‘It is a bit confusing, they can come over here and we can’t go over to there – it’s a tale of two villages.

‘We have only really had one day of it, we don’t have a clue what is going to happen, it certainly is not going to help.’   

Willy also says trade has dropped dramatically due to Covid and he fears what will happen to his Essex pub after it was moved into the High Tier.

The great-grandad said: ‘It is down two thirds. Before this happened we would have had 30 people in the two bars, now we can only have 10.

‘I’ve never known anything like this in my 40 years running the pub.’ 

Just a stone’s throw away in the Three Horseshoes over the Suffolk border Essex residents are now barred from drinking with friends inside.

Landlady Pat Mulcahy , 71, says she won’t act as a border guard and check drinkers’ passports before serving them.

She said: ‘I suppose there’s a temptation to mix but a long as my rules are followed its up to the individual really.

‘It is not my job to check passports, it is hard enough as it is.

‘When we reopened things were good as everyone was in the garden and my trade increased. Now we have colder weather and the 10 o’clock curfew.

Willy Amos , 83, landlord of the Eight Bells, in Essex, said it was 'a bit confusing'

Willy Amos , 83, landlord of the Eight Bells, in Essex, said it was 'a bit confusing'

Pat Mulcahy , 71, landlady at the Three Horseshoes, Suffolk, says she won't act as a border guard and check drinkers' passports before serving them.

Pat Mulcahy , 71, landlady at the Three Horseshoes, Suffolk, says she won't act as a border guard and check drinkers' passports before serving them.

Willy Amos , 83, landlord of the Eight Bells, in Essex, said it was ‘a bit confusing’. Pat Mulcahy , 71, landlady at the Three Horseshoes, Suffolk, says she won’t act as a border guard and check drinkers’ passports before serving them.

Those living in the Essex half (left) of the village are now no longer able to meet for a drink with other households, while those on the Suffolk side (right) can, providing they stick to the government's rule of six

Those living in the Essex half (left) of the village are now no longer able to meet for a drink with other households, while those on the Suffolk side (right) can, providing they stick to the government's rule of six

Those living in the Essex half (left) of the village are now no longer able to meet for a drink with other households, while those on the Suffolk side (right) can, providing they stick to the government’s rule of six

The village of Bures is made up of two civil parishes, Bures Hamlet in Essex and Bures St Mary in Suffolk

The village of Bures is made up of two civil parishes, Bures Hamlet in Essex and Bures St Mary in Suffolk

The village of Bures is made up of two civil parishes, Bures Hamlet in Essex and Bures St Mary in Suffolk

‘This is the toughest it has been in the 25 years I have been here, it is just a nightmare for everyone and it doesn’t end.’

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34423666 8858651 image a 49 1603186158684

The split came into force at midnight on Saturday after bosses at Essex County Council lobbied to be moved from Medium to High tiers – despite not meeting the infection threshold.

Neighbouring Suffolk County Council has made no approach to government and at present will remain medium due to its low rates.

Defending the move Leader of Essex County Council, councillor David Finch, said: ‘We think the government has decided correctly and been guided by the science. The fact is that the number of cases in Essex is rising exponentially.

‘We understand that the move to the high COVID alert level may affect people’s lives and businesses and we understand the very strong feelings about this.

‘However, we have a duty of care to the people of Essex, and we firmly believe that this is the best route to minimise disruptions, to save lives – not just for those with the virus, but for other patients as well – and to protect businesses.’

Bures: The small English village split by a river and a county boundary

Mentioned in the Doomsday Book of William the Conqueror’s era, the village of Bures, which today straddles the modern-day counties of Essex and Suffolk, is referred to as ‘Bura’ or ‘Bure’.  

It is documented as having a church with 18 acres of free land. 

Though it is not know the exact origin of the village’s name, it may come from the Old English word ‘Bur’, meaning cottage, or the Celtic word for ‘boundary’.

Alternatively, its name may come from the name of a French village, had it not been named before the Norman Conquest, with at least eight French villages having the same name.

During the Victorian era, Bures (pictured) was an industrial village with its own tannery, maltings, brickworks, abattoir, gas works, electricity generator and many other small industries

During the Victorian era, Bures (pictured) was an industrial village with its own tannery, maltings, brickworks, abattoir, gas works, electricity generator and many other small industries

During the Victorian era, Bures (pictured) was an industrial village with its own tannery, maltings, brickworks, abattoir, gas works, electricity generator and many other small industries

During the Victorian era, Bures was an industrial village with its own tannery, maltings, brickworks, abattoir, gas works, electricity generator and many other small industries.

At one time, the village had eight public houses.  

Before the invention of civil parishes in the 1870s there was no division, apart from the county division.

Now it is made up of two civil parishes, Bures Hamlet in Essex and Bures St Mary in Suffolk.

The village, which has a population of around 1,700 people,  is erved by Bures railway station and has a football team, Bures United F.C.

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Town’s pavement-widening barriers are latest to be taken down amid backlash over pushing out drivers

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towns pavement widening barriers are latest to be taken down amid backlash over pushing out drivers

Council chiefs have removed ‘unsightly’ street barriers in the Scottish town of St Andrews after an outcry from local business owners. 

Fife Council installed the barriers on Market Street, in St Andrews, the town’s busiest thoroughfare.

They were removed after a backlash, forcing the council to become the latest authority to cave to pressure from locals and remove the barriers. 

Authorities across the UK have come under fire for erecting barriers in busy town and city centres.

Fife Council installed the barriers on Market Street (pictured), in St Andrews -  the town's busiest thoroughfare - but had to remove them after a backlash from business owners

Fife Council installed the barriers on Market Street (pictured), in St Andrews -  the town's busiest thoroughfare - but had to remove them after a backlash from business owners

Fife Council installed the barriers on Market Street (pictured), in St Andrews –  the town’s busiest thoroughfare – but had to remove them after a backlash from business owners

The red and white plastic barriers in St Andrews were reportedly designed to widen pavements and allow more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

But the cordons cut off more than 30 parking spaces, angering locals and business owners as the restrictions affected custom and trade as no one could park along the street.  

Fife Council scrapped the ‘Spaces for People’ infrastructure within days of their installation after more than 1,000 people called for a local authority U-turn.

The barriers were pulled down after 60 members of the local business improvement district (BID) formed a petition.

Angry business owners feared the loss of car parking spaces would affect trade and penalise the elderly and disabled who would ‘no longer be able to access the shopping centre without difficulty’.

They wrote on their petition: ‘We understand that Fife Council are implementing these measures on health and safety grounds but some of the measures directly contradict and contravene the government’s recommendations that the public try and avoid public transport and travel by car if possible, to stop the spread of COVID19. 

‘How can they travel if they can’t park?’ 

One social media user branded the barriers ‘unsightly’ and said they were ‘implemented without consideration’ for local businesses. 

Council’s across the country have come under fire for erecting barriers in busy town and city centres. 

One social media user branded the barriers in St Andrews 'unsightly' and said they were 'implemented without consideration' for local businesses

One social media user branded the barriers in St Andrews 'unsightly' and said they were 'implemented without consideration' for local businesses

One social media user branded the barriers in St Andrews ‘unsightly’ and said they were ‘implemented without consideration’ for local businesses

Stuart Winton posted a picture of the 'parking suspended' sign on St Andrew's Market Street

Stuart Winton posted a picture of the 'parking suspended' sign on St Andrew's Market Street

Stuart Winton posted a picture of the ‘parking suspended’ sign on St Andrew’s Market Street

Bus companies, taxi drivers and private motorists also voice their concern after barriers were put up on a busy street in Melton, Leicestershire. 

The drivers felt the reduced road width made it increasingly difficult to travel through the town centre, reported the Melton Times. 

Red and white markers placed on Deptford High Street in south east London were also removed by the council after they were repeatedly knocked out of formation by drivers trying to navigate the narrow road.  

Defending their decision Fife Council said the barriers were not currently needed and they could return in time for the Christmas shopping rush. 

Altany Craik, convener of Fife Council’s economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee, said: ‘The demand for space varies over time with Christmas expected to have a higher demand for pedestrian space in town centre shopping streets.

Traffic barriers installed on Deptford high street in south east London were also removed

Traffic barriers installed on Deptford high street in south east London were also removed

Traffic barriers installed on Deptford high street in south east London were also removed

‘Therefore, as the footways are wider in Market Street, the measures have been removed for the time being.

‘However, should things change, and when the town becomes busier again on the run up to Christmas, we will reconsider this area and the potential to provide further space to help with social distancing.’

But some angry locals hit out at the decision to remove the barriers.   

Professor Richard Olver, emeritus professor of child health at the University of Dundee, said: ‘I am frankly shocked to learn that during a public health emergency, a decision has been taken to remove most, if not all, the Spaces for People measures, without further consultation with any stakeholders other than BID St Andrews.

A social media user applauded news that the barriers in St Andrews would be removed

A social media user applauded news that the barriers in St Andrews would be removed

A social media user applauded news that the barriers in St Andrews would be removed

‘St Andrews is peppered with signs instructing pedestrians to keep two metres apart in accordance with Sottish Government guidance, but Fife Council is now dismantling the very measures necessary to allow this to happen.

‘I believe this to be totally irresponsible and it will render safe physical distancing impossible when the streets are busy with students and visitors, forcing people either to rub shoulders or walk into the road – as I personally have had to do on numerous occasions.

‘With an outbreak of coronavirus in the university and an upsurge in cases elsewhere in Fife, the timing could not be worse.

‘Prioritising business interests at the expense of the health needs of the public is surely wrongheaded.

‘After all, neither residents nor visitors will not want to shop in the town centre if they do not feel safe.’ 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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More than 80 ancient coffins are discovered at the Saqqara necropolis in Egypt 

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more than 80 ancient coffins are discovered at the saqqara necropolis in egypt

Egypt has unearthed another trove of ancient coffins in the vast Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, announcing the discovery of more than 80 sarcophagi. 

The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said in a statement that archaeologists had found the collection of colourful, sealed caskets which were buried more than 2,500 years ago.

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly and Tourism and Antiquities Minister Khalid el-Anany toured the area and inspected the new discovery yesterday.  

Egypt has unearthed another trove of ancient coffins in the vast Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, announcing the discovery of more than 80 sarcophagi. Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly toured the area and viewed the finds earlier this week (pictured).

Egypt has unearthed another trove of ancient coffins in the vast Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, announcing the discovery of more than 80 sarcophagi. Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly toured the area and viewed the finds earlier this week (pictured).

Egypt has unearthed another trove of ancient coffins in the vast Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo, announcing the discovery of more than 80 sarcophagi. Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly toured the area and viewed the finds earlier this week (pictured). 

Egypt has sought to publicise its archaeological finds in an effort to revive its key tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising. Pictured, the Egyptian Prime Minister looking inside one of the coffins

Egypt has sought to publicise its archaeological finds in an effort to revive its key tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising. Pictured, the Egyptian Prime Minister looking inside one of the coffins

 Egypt has sought to publicise its archaeological finds in an effort to revive its key tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising. Pictured, the Egyptian Prime Minister looking inside one of the coffins 

Archaeologists also found colourful, gilded wooden statues, the ministry said. 

Details of the new discovery will be announced soon in a news conference at the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser, it said.

Egypt has sought to publicise its archaeological finds in an effort to revive its key tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising.

The sector was also dealt a further blow this year by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said in a statement that archaeologists had found the collection of colourful, sealed caskets which were buried more than 2,500 years ago

The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said in a statement that archaeologists had found the collection of colourful, sealed caskets which were buried more than 2,500 years ago

The Tourism and Antiquities Ministry said in a statement that archaeologists had found the collection of colourful, sealed caskets which were buried more than 2,500 years ago

Located 19 miles south of Cairo, the vast burial complex of Saqqara — which features the step pyramid of Djoser and flat-roofed tombs — served the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis

Located 19 miles south of Cairo, the vast burial complex of Saqqara — which features the step pyramid of Djoser and flat-roofed tombs — served the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis

Located 19 miles south of Cairo, the vast burial complex of Saqqara — which features the step pyramid of Djoser and flat-roofed tombs — served the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis

Ancient Egyptian burial rituals  

Over thousands of years, ancient Egyptians developed elaborate and complex funerary practices that they believed were necessary to enter the afterlife.

The processes evolved over time, but many elements remained consistent through different ancient Egyptian dynasties.

The most classic form of mummification dates back to the 18th Dynasty that spanned the the period from 1549/1550 to 1292 BC.

First, the brain was removed. Some say this was by a metal hook inserted through the nose, while others say it was with a rod through the cranium which was used to liquefy the brain. 

The brain would have then been drained out through the nose before the skull was filled with a mixture of tree resin and fragrances. 

This stopped the decomposition of any residual brain tissue, and also suppressed the smell. 

Then, the lumbar area was sliced open and the organs of the abdomen were removed. The heat was usually left. These were then heavily salted and placed in canopic jars. 

The now-empty chest cavity was then filled with a mixture of aromatics. 

All incisions into the body were then filled with a salt called natron which disinfected wounds.

The body was then put on a bed of natron for a period of between 35 and 70 days. 

At the end of this period, the now dehydrated corpse was washed, oiled and covered with resin as adhesive. 

The body was then wrapped in linen until it was fully covered.

Depending on the social status of the deceased, the mummy was sometimes then adorned with decorations, such as a mask or a shroud.

The mummy was then buried in a tomb, ready for the afterlife.  

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Just over two weeks ago Egypt revealed 59 sealed sarcophagi, with mummies inside most of them, in the same area of Saqqara.

The Saqqara site is located south of Cairo and the vast burial complex, which also  features the step pyramid of Djoser, served the ancient capital of Memphis. 

It also includes the famed Giza Pyramids, as well as smaller pyramids at Abu Sir, Dahshur and Abu Ruwaysh. 

The ruins of Memphis were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1970s.

The plateau hosts at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials and other sites that range from the 1st Dynasty (2920-2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395-642).

Earlier this month, one of dozens of ornately decorated sarcophagi was opened for the first time before assembled media.

The team slowly revealed mummified remains wrapped in burial cloth that bore hieroglyphic inscriptions in bright colours. 

The majority of coffins housed mummified remains which initial research suggests would have been priests, top officials and elites in ancient Egyptian society.

All of whom would have likely been subject to ancient Egypt’s complex burial rituals after they died, including having their brains removed with an iron hook.

Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities and Tourism, Dr. Khaled El-Enany, said at the time: ‘I can say most of the discoveries have been made by Egyptian teams on Egyptian soil. This is something I am immensely proud of.’

He said the mission had started re-excavating the site two months ago, and uncovered a burial shaft 36 feet deep. Inside, they found 13 intact coffins.

The team continued their excavations, discovering two more shafts – 32 and 39 feet deep – also filled with coffins. 

All the coffins discovered so far are in good condition and bear their original colours.

‘My colleagues in the Supreme Council of Antiquities discovered burial shafts filled with wooden, sealed and intact coffins,’ El-Enany said.

‘I am really impressed that Covid-19 did not stop them from digging to unveil more mystery and secrets about our great civilisation.’

The minister said that the coffins would be transported to the Grand Egyptian Museum to be displayed to the public.

Just over two weeks ago Egypt revealed 59 sealed sarcophagi , with mummies inside most of them, in the same area of Saqqara. This find adds to the enormous trove of historical finds in the African nation

Just over two weeks ago Egypt revealed 59 sealed sarcophagi , with mummies inside most of them, in the same area of Saqqara. This find adds to the enormous trove of historical finds in the African nation

Just over two weeks ago Egypt revealed 59 sealed sarcophagi , with mummies inside most of them, in the same area of Saqqara. This find adds to the enormous trove of historical finds in the African nation 

Archaeologists also found colourful, gilded wooden statues, officials said. Details of the new discovery will be announced soon in a news conference at the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser

Archaeologists also found colourful, gilded wooden statues, officials said. Details of the new discovery will be announced soon in a news conference at the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser

Archaeologists also found colourful, gilded wooden statues, officials said. Details of the new discovery will be announced soon in a news conference at the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser

Pictured: A man opens one of the sarcophagi during the unveiling event in front of the media earlier this month. 59 anthropoid painted coffins have been discovered so far

Pictured: A man opens one of the sarcophagi during the unveiling event in front of the media earlier this month. 59 anthropoid painted coffins have been discovered so far

Pictured: A man opens one of the sarcophagi during the unveiling event in front of the media earlier this month. 59 anthropoid painted coffins have been discovered so far 

The majority of the coffins found at Saqqara so far have contained mummified remains (pictured) of priests, top officials and elites

The majority of the coffins found at Saqqara so far have contained mummified remains (pictured) of priests, top officials and elites

The majority of the coffins found at Saqqara so far have contained mummified remains (pictured) of priests, top officials and elites

A sarcophagus that is around 2500 years old is seen inside the newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, October 3

A sarcophagus that is around 2500 years old is seen inside the newly discovered burial site near Egypt's Saqqara necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, October 3

A sarcophagus that is around 2500 years old is seen inside the newly discovered burial site near Egypt’s Saqqara necropolis, in Giza, Egypt, October 3

HOW ANCIENT EGYPTIANS EMBALMED THEIR DEAD

It is thought a range of chemicals were used to embalm and preserve the bodies of the dead in ancient cultures. 

Russian scientists believe a different balm was used to preserve hair fashions of the time than the concoctions deployed on the rest of the body.

Hair was treated with a balm made of a combination of beef fat, castor oil, beeswax and pine gum and with a drop of aromatic pistachio oil as an optional extra.

Mummification in ancient Egypt involved removing the corpse’s internal organs, desiccating the body with a mixture of salts, and then wrapping it in cloth soaked in a balm of plant extracts, oils, and resins.  

Older mummies are believed to have been naturally preserved by burying them in dry desert sand and were not chemically treated.  

Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) techniques have been deployed in recent years in find out more about the ancient embalming process. 

Studies have found bodies were embalmed with: a plant oil, such as sesame oil; phenolic acids, probably from an aromatic plant extract; and polysaccharide sugars from plants.

The recipe also featured dehydroabietic acid and other diterpenoids from conifer resin.

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