A 3,000-year-old lost golden city has been unearthed in the southern city of Luxor, in what could be the most significant find in Egypt since the tomb of the boy King Tutankhamun.
The lost city, known as Aten (‘The Rise of Aten’), is believed to have been founded by King Amenhotep III, the ninth king of the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, who ruled the country from 1391 to 1353 BC. From the archaeological mission, it is believed to be the largest administrative and industrial settlement of its time, located on the west bank of Luxor.
“The find of this lost golden city is the second most important archaeological discovery since Tutankhamun’s tomb,” said Betsy Bryan, a professor of Egyptology at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the mission.
His discovery, he added, “will give us a rare glimpse into the life of ancient Egyptians at a time when the empire was at its richest.”
The Lost City is the latest in a series of archaeological wonders unearthed in recent months across the country that are bringing a new understanding of the dynasties that ruled the land of the gods. Egypt’s government hopes such findings will bolster the country’s critically important tourism industry, hit in recent years by the coronavirus pandemic, attacks by Islamist militants and political instability.
Aten promises to be among the most important of the recent findings. But it remains to be seen whether he will capture the world’s imagination as Tutankhamun’s golden mask and other artifacts have for decades since his tomb was discovered in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings in 1922.
Egyptologists applauded the discovery on social media Thursday, calling it “extraordinary” and a valuable source of information to better understand Egypt’s past civilizations.
“Settlement archeology is extremely valuable for learning true historical facts and expanding our understanding of how ancient Egyptians lived,” tweeted Paola Cartagena, a University of Manchester graduate student studying Egyptology.
The Discovery Of 3000 Year Old Lost Golden City
Archaeologists began excavating in September in the area between the temples of King Ramses III and Amenhotep III. The original objective of the mission was to find the mortuary temple of King Tutankhamun.
“In a few weeks, to the great surprise of the team, the mud-brick formations began to appear in all directions,” reads the statement issued by the archaeologists. “What they unearthed was the site of a great city in good condition, with almost complete walls and rooms full of tools of everyday life.”
“The archaeological layers have [remained] intact for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday.”
On the other hand, the controversial archaeologist Zahi Hawass, who led the team of archaeologists, said that “foreign missions searched for this city and never found it.”
The city was active during the reign of Amenhotep III, as well as during his co-regency with his son, Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, the father of Tutankhamun. The city was later used by Tutankhamun and his successor, King Ay.
Hawass explained that the city’s streets are lined with houses, some of which have walls nearly 10 feet high.
The archaeological team dated the settlement through hieroglyphic inscriptions found on wine vessels, as well as rings, scarabs, pottery and clay bricks bearing the cartouche seals of King Amenhotep III, according to the statement.
So far, several enclaves of the city have been discovered. In the southern part, archaeologists found a bakery and a large kitchen complete with ovens and pottery for storing food. They also found an administrative and residential district surrounded by a zigzag wall with a single entrance, suggesting it was to provide security, the statement said.
In a third area there was a workshop. The team also found foundry molds to produce amulets and ornaments, apparently for temples and tombs.
“In all the excavated areas, the mission has found many tools used in some type of industrial activity such as spinning and weaving,” says the statement, adding that metal and glass slags have also been found.
In other parts of the city, the graves of two cows or bulls were found in one room. And in another area were the remains of a person, found with his arms outstretched at his sides and a rope wrapped around his knees. The team is investigating both cases to learn more about social practices during that time, according to the statement.
A large cemetery was found to the north of the city, as well as a group of rock-cut tombs.
“Work is underway and the mission hopes to uncover intact treasure-filled tombs,” concluded Hawass.
Source: The Washington Post