- 10/04/2021 at 2:32 PM #33892Anonymous UserParticipant
Pharaoh’s “golden city” discovered
Like an Egyptian Pompeii: archaeologists discovered the royal city of Pharaoh Amenophis III near Luxor. discovered – the father of Akhenaten. The city, buried under sand for 3,400 years, is surprisingly well preserved and provides for the first time an insight into life and everyday life at the mansion of a pharaoh. The discovery of this lost city is the second most important archaeological find after Tutankhamun, say the researchers. You can expect further sensational finds there.
Pharaoh Amenhotep III. was one of the longest reigning and most powerful kings of the New Kingdom – he ruled from 1391 to 1353 BC. He had the temple of Karnak expanded and built one of the largest mortuary temples in Egypt in Thebes, promoted the arts and brought his country a time of prosperity and peace. Amenhotep III it was also who initiated religious reforms through which the Amon priests were to be disempowered. However, it was only his son Akhenaten who made the radical change with his new cult around the sun god Aton.
Chance find under the desert sand
Now archaeologists, led by Zahi Hawass, the former minister for antiquities, have discovered one of the largest and best-preserved cities from this golden era of Egypt. Originally, the team was looking for the mortuary temple of Tutankhamun, which they located between the mortuary temples of Amenhotep III. and Ramses III. suspected. Both are together with other temples near Luxor on the west bank of the Nile and not far from the entrances to the Valley of the Kings.
But when the archaeologists began their excavations in September 2020, they soon came across well-preserved remains of adobe buildings up to three meters high under the desert sand, which seemed to extend in all directions and formed entire streets. As Hawass reports, it is one of the largest ancient cities ever discovered in Egypt.
“Biggest discovery since Tutankhamun’s tomb”
The sensation, however: this city dates from the time of Amenhotep III. and is probably the city that was known as the city of the “Assumption of Atons” during his reign. Numerous vessels, rings, scarabs and clay bricks, which were the royal seal of Amenhotep III, bear witness to this. wear. At that time the city was one of the most important centers of ancient Egypt and one of the three residential cities of Pharaoh Amenophis III. Pharaoh Akhenaten also lived in this city at the beginning of his reign.
“Many foreign excavation campaigns have looked for this city but never found it,” says Hawass. The discovery of this lost city is one of the greatest discoveries since the tomb of Tutankhamun was found, comments Egyptologist Betsy Bryan of Johns Hopkins University. “The discovery of this city not only gives us a rare glimpse into the life of the ancient Egyptians during this time – it could also help us to solve one of the greatest riddles in history.”
For example, it is unclear what happened to the city of the “Ascension of Aten” after Akhenaten left it shortly after the beginning of his rule – although the pharaoh ruled here for years as co-regent with his father. It is also unknown whether the city flourished again after Tutankhamun returned to Thebes.
Untouched like a Pompeii in Egypt
What is special about the newly discovered “golden city” of Egypt is its exceptionally good state of preservation and its unspoiled state: the furnishings and everyday objects in the rooms are as if the residents had left their houses just yesterday. Some commentators already speak of a “Pompeii of Egypt”.
“Discovering this lost city will give us a deeper insight into the daily life of the ancient Egyptians – for example, how they built and decorated their houses, what tools they used and how they organized the work,” explains Hawass. “We have had a lot of information about tombs and temples before, but this is the first time that we have learned about the life of kings in the golden age of Egypt.”
Meat from the butcher Iwi, a “gated community” and workshops
In the first seven months of the excavations, the archaeologists uncovered several different districts of the old pharaoh city. In the southern part there were mainly kitchens and bakeries. Ovens, cooking utensils lying around and clay storage containers are evidence that bread and food were once prepared here for a large number of people. In one room, the researchers came across two barrels of dried or boiled meat, which, according to an inscription, were made by the “butcher Iwi”.
A second quarter, which has only been partially excavated, seems to include mainly administrative buildings and residences of high-ranking residents. This area is characterized by larger houses and separated from the rest of the city by a surrounding, curved wall. Only one gate led into the inner area of this area – this may have been a security precaution to monitor access to this sensitive area, the archaeologists explain.
A third area of Amenhotep’s city includes workshops, among other things, for the production of adobe bricks and their stucco decorations. In addition to numerous bricks that form the royal seal of Amenhotep IIII. Wearing them, the archaeologists have also found a large number of molds for making amulets and decorative elements. They probably served both to decorate the many temples in the area and to decorate tombs.
Necropolis with potentially intact rock tombs
Also exciting: The archaeological team has uncovered the first areas of a large necropolis, the full extent of which cannot yet be foreseen. The researchers speculate that the long-sought mortuary temple of Tutankhamun could possibly also be located in this complex. They also discovered a number of possibly untouched rock tombs of various sizes. Similar to the tombs in the nearby Valley of the Kings, they are accessible via steps carved into the stone.
The archaeologists believe it is very likely that they could find untouched tombs full of treasures there. They are continuing the excavation work on the necropolis, but also on the rest of the city – only around a third of the city has yet to be explored.
Source: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
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