CAIRO – Archaeologists said on Thursday they had discovered a large ancient Pharaonic city that had remained unseen for centuries near some of Egypt’s best-known landmarks.
The city was built over 3,400 years ago during the opulent reign of Amenhotep III, one of Egypt’s most powerful pharaohs, according to Egyptian archaeologist in charge of the excavations, Zahi Hawass.
The team began searching for a mortuary temple near Luxor in September, but within weeks found mud brick formations in all directions, Mr Hawass said in a statement.
They unearthed the well-preserved town which had nearly complete walls and rooms filled with everyday tools as well as rings, scarabs, colorful pottery vessels and mud bricks bearing the seals of Amenhotep’s cartouche. .
“The streets of the city are lined with houses and some of their walls are up to three meters high,” said Mr. Hawass.
The excavations are located on the west bank of Luxor near the Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu and the Ramesseum, or the mortuary temple of King Ramses II, not far from the Valley of the Kings.
“This is a very important find,” said Peter Lacovara, director of the United States-based Ancient Egyptian Archeology and Heritage Fund.
The state of conservation and the volume of the objects of daily life recalled another famous excavation, he added.
“It is a kind of ancient Egyptian Pompeii and shows the critical need to preserve this area as an archaeological park,” said Lacovara, who worked in the Malqata Palace area for over 20 years but didn’t was not involved in the excavation.
The site contains a large number of kilns and ovens for making glass and earthenware, as well as the debris of thousands of statues, said Betsy Bryan, an expert on the reign of Amenhotep III.
“Just locating the manufacturing centers opens up the details of how the Egyptians under a great and wealthy ruler such as Amenhotep III did what they did. This will provide knowledge for many years to come, ”she added.