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What's in Egypt's 2,000-year-old black box – and should it be opened?

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What's in Egypt's 2,000-year-old black box – and should it be opened?

What's in Egypt's 2,000-year-old black box – and should it be opened?
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Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities/ Facebook
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A 2,000-year-old sarcophagus has been uncovered in northern Egypt and scientists have no idea what it contains. This has prompted many questions about what’s inside and whether or not it should be opened to find out.

It was discovered recently on a construction site in Alexandria, reportedly by a contractor digging foundations for a building. The port city features many traces of Egypt's ancient civilisations.

The black sarcophagus was in a tomb alongside the sculptured head of a man, thought to be its owner. Archaeologists were surprised to find that the lid was sealed. Usually, in such cases, the treasures have long been plundered.

Two metres high and three metres long, the artefact has been dated by an Egyptian archaeological mission to the Ptolemaic period, named after the dynasty of a Greek royal family that ruled Egypt for about 300 years.

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The newly-discovered tomb is said to have belonged to a nobleman, not a king. But that did not prevent a former antiquities minister from claiming that the discovery could help locate the tomb of Alexander the Great.

The legendary conqueror, who founded Alexandria and died in 323 BC, is thought to have been buried in the city. However, officials dismissed the notion this discovery could provide a clue.

Under Egyptian law, all antiquities are taken as belonging to the state. When new discoveries are made during building work, construction has to stop until the site is excavated.

Amid an explosion of reaction on social media following the latest discovery, one question has featured prominently: should the mysterious coffin be opened... or would doing so release a curse?

What do you think? Should archaeologists be opening the sarcophagus that has been untouched for 2,000 years? Or should it be left alone? You can let us know your thoughts with #TheCube.