Archaeologists have discovered a 3,000-year-old “lost golden city” in Egypt — the “largest” ever found there and the most important find since the tomb of Tutankhamun.
The city, called “The Rise of Aten” was unearthed by a team of archeologists led by Zahi Hawass under the sand on the western bank of Luxor, about 300 miles south of Cairo.
The archaeologists first excavated the site in September 2020 in an attempt to search for King Tut’s mortuary temple.
They soon uncovered their stunning find — well-kept mud bricks formations that turned out to be a large city dating to the golden age of pharaohs 3,000 years ago.
“Within weeks, to the team’s great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions,” Hawass said in a statement. “What they unearthed was the site of a large city in a good condition of preservation, with almost complete walls, and with rooms filled with tools of daily life.”
Most of the city’s southern portion has been unearthed, but the northern part still remains under the sand.
The city was founded by King Amenhotep III, the ninth king of the 18th dynasty who ruled from 1391 to 1353 B.C., according to Hawass.
The city was active during the king’s co-regency with his son, Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten.
Akhenaten ruled alongside his wife, Nefertiti, and worshipped the sun, according to National Geographic. His young son — better known as King Tut — took over after his death.
The newly discovered royal metropolis may hold some clues as to why Akhenaten abandoned Thebes, which had been ancient Egypt’s capital for more than 150 years, according to the report.
“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it,” Hawass said in the release.
Betsy Brian, Professor of Egyptology at John Hopkins University, called the discovery the most important archaeological find since the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb — found fully intact in the Valley of the Kings.
“The discovery of the Lost City not only will give us a rare glimpse into the life of the Ancient Egyptians at the time where the Empire was at his wealthiest, but will help us shed light on one of history’s greatest mystery — why did Akhenaten and Nefertiti decide to move to Amarna,” Brian said in a statement.
The city, built on the western bank of the Nile River, at one point served as the largest administrative and industrial settlement of the pharaonic empire, Hawass said.
The streets are flanked by houses, with some walls nearly 10 feet high, Hawass said. The city extends to the west, “all the way to the famous Deir el-Medina,” an ancient Egyptian workmen’s village, he added.
16The discovery is being called the most important archaeological find since the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb.
“There’s no doubt about it; it really is a phenomenal find,” Salima Ikram, an archaeologist who leads the Egyptology unit of the American University in Cairo, told National Geographic. “It’s very much a snapshot in time—an Egyptian version of Pompeii.”
The newly unearthed city — discovered between the temple of King Rameses III and the colossi of Amenhotep III on the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor — even included rooms filled with utensils used in daily life.
King Tut, as well as his successor King Ay, made use of the city.
“The archaeological layers have laid untouched for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday,” the statement said.
Inside the city, a remarkable human burial was discovered — a person with his arms outstretched to his side, with remains of a rope wrapped around his knees. Investigations are underway, as the location and position of the skeleton are “rather odd,” according to Hawass’ statement.
Two unusual burials of a cow or bull were also discovered.
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