3,000-year-old 'lost golden city' unearthed in Egypt

Darnell Taylor
April 11, 2021

The city, known as the "The Rise of Aten", was built 3,400 years ago during the reign of one of Egypt's most powerful pharaohs, Amenhotep III.

The city was unearthed by a team of archaeologists led by Zahi Hawass near Luxor, about 300 miles south of the capital, Cairo - and dates back to the period under King Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty.

"It is a sort of ancient Egyptian Pompeii and shows the critical need to preserve this area as an archaeological park", said Dr Lacovara, who has worked at the Malqata palace area for more than 20 years but was not involved in the excavations.

"The discovery of this lost city is the second most important archeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun", which occurred in 1922, Betsy Brian, a professor of Egyptology at John Hopkins University, said in the statement.

Other valuable ancient items have been discovered in the city, too, including jewelry, pottery, scarab beetle amulets, and mud bricks with the seals of Amenhotep III.

The city is considered a vital clue to the cultural and religious developments of the reign of Amenhotep III whose succession would come at the hands of his son, Akhenaten.

A team of archaeologists began excavating at the site in September 2020, between the temples of Ramses III and Amenhotep III near Luxor.

"Within weeks, to the team's great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions", Hawass wrote. The statement adds that the city is in good condition of preservation, with nearly complete walls and rooms filled with tools of daily life.

Clay items found in the Lost Gold City
Feature: Egypt unveils discovery of 3000-year-old "Lost Gold City" in Luxor - Xinhua | English.news.cn

After seven months of excavations, several neighbourhoods have been uncovered, including a bakery complete with ovens and storage pottery, as well as administrative and residential districts.

"The archaeological layers have laid untouched for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday", a press release said.

It was the largest administrative and industrial settlement in the era of the Egyptian empire on the western bank of Luxor.

In the statement, Bryan notes that the newly discovered city offers a "rare glimpse into the life of the ancient Egyptians" at the height of the empire, in addition to shedding light on the mystery of why the pharaoh and his queen moved to Amarna.

An inscription found in the site "says that this city was called 'The dazzling Aten, '" Hawass told reporters. "The work will last at least 10 years, since we need to excavate the entire city, as well as the area of temples", Hawass said.

Tutankhamun's almost intact tomb was discovered in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings by British archaeologist Howard Carter. Also discovered, was the burial of a human being with arms stretched out to the side and the remains of a rope wrapped around the knees.

"The mission expects to uncover untouched tombs filled with treasures", the team's statement read.

The announcement comes less than a week after Egypt staged a grandiose parade to move 22 royal mummies to a new Cairo museum that celebrates the country's ancient heritage.

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