Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of an ancient city in the desert outside Luxor that they say is the “largest” ever found in Egypt and dates back to the golden age of the pharaohs 3,000 years ago.
The discovery of the ancient city, buried under sand for millennia, is said to be one of the most important finds since unearthing Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass announced the discovery of the “lost golden city” on Thursday, saying the site was uncovered near Luxor, home of the legendary Valley of the Kings.
“The Egyptian mission under Dr Zahi Hawass found the city that was lost under the sands,” the archaeology team said in a statement.
“The city is 3,000 years old, dates to the reign of Amenhotep III, and continued to be used by Tutankhamun and Ay.”
Betsy Bryan, professor of Egyptian Art and Archaeology at Johns Hopkins University, said the find was the “second most important archeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun”, according to the team’s statement.
Jewellery items such as rings have been unearthed, along with coloured pottery vessels, scarab beetle amulets and mud bricks bearing seals of Amenhotep III.
“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it,” said Hawass, a former antiquities minister.
The team began excavations in September 2020, between the temples of Ramses III and Amenhotep III near Luxor, some 500km (300 miles) south of the capital Cairo.
“Within weeks, to the team’s great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions,” the statement read. “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.”