In Egypt, a 3,000-year-old 'Lost Golden City' has been uncovered.

 

For the past 3,000 years, the "Lost Golden City" has been hidden under Luxor. (Photo courtesy of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.)

The city has zigzag walls, a bakery, and other amenities.

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities declared Thursday that archaeologists have discovered a "Lost Golden City" hidden underneath the ancient Egyptian capital of Luxor for the past 3,000 years (April 8).

Amenhotep III (ruled 1391-1353 B.C.), the grandfather of Tutankhamun, or King Tut, founded the city known as The Rise of Aten. During Amenhotep III's co-regency with his uncle, Amenhotep IV (who later changed his name to Akhenaten), as well as during the reign of Tut and the pharaoh who succeeded him, known as Ay, people continued to use the "Golden City."

Despite the city's long history — historical records say it housed King Amenhotep III's three royal palaces and was Luxor's largest administrative and industrial settlement at the time — archaeologists have been unable to find its remains until now.

In a translated quote, Zahi Hawass, the archaeologist who led the Golden City excavation and the former minister of state for antiquities affairs, said that several foreign missions searched for the city but never found it.

In the year 2020, his team set out on a mission to find King Tut's mortuary temple. They chose this area because "both Horemheb and Ay temples were found in this area," according to Hawass.

When they started uncovering mud bricks wherever they dug, they were taken aback. The team quickly realized they had discovered a big city in relatively good condition. "The city's streets are flanked by homes," Hawass said, some with walls as high as 10 feet (3 meters). Rooms in these houses were crammed with knickknacks and equipment that ancient Egyptians used on a regular basis.

The walls of many of the ancient houses and structures were still intact. (Photo courtesy of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.)


According to Betsy Brian, a scholar, the discovery of this lost city is the second most significant archeological find after the tomb of Tutankhamun, which was discovered in 1922. The discovery of the Lost City will not only provide a rare insight into the lives of ancient Egyptians at a time when the empire was at its most prosperous, but it will also shed light on one of history's greatest [mysteries]: why did Akhenaten and [Queen] Nefertiti choose Amarna as their new home?

(The Golden City was abandoned a few years after Akhenaten began his reign in the early 1350s B.C., and Egypt's capital was transferred to Amarna.)

The team began dating the Lost City as soon as they knew they had found it. They did this by looking for ancient artifacts with Amenhotep III's cartouche seal, which is an oval filled with his royal name in hieroglyphics. The cartouche was discovered on wine pots, rings, scarabs, colored pottery, and mud bricks, confirming that the city was active during the reign of Amenhotep III, the ninth king of the 18th dynasty.

At the site, a painted artifact was discovered. (Photo courtesy of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.)

The cartouche of Amenhotep III was discovered on a variety of items by archaeologists. (Photo courtesy of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.)

At the ancient site, archaeologists have discovered a variety of treasures. (Photo courtesy of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.)


The archaeologists discovered multiple neighborhoods after seven months of digging. The team also found the remains of a bakery in the city's south end, which had a food preparation and cooking area with ovens and ceramic storage containers. According to the comment, since the kitchen is huge, it likely catered to a large clientele.

Archaeologists discovered an administrative and residential district with larger, neatly-arranged units in another, still partly covered area of the excavation. The area was walled off by a zigzag fence, an architectural style common toward the end of the 18th Dynasty, with only one access point leading to the residential areas and internal corridors. According to the declaration, the single entrance served as a security measure, giving ancient Egyptians power over who entered and exited the city.

Archaeologists discovered a manufacturing area for mud bricks, which were used to build temples and annexes, in another area. The team noticed seals with the cartouche of King Amenhotep III on these bricks.

The team also discovered hundreds of casting molds for amulets and decorative objects, indicating that the city had a thriving manufacturing line for temple and tomb decorations.

The archaeologists discovered tools related to industrial work, such as spinning and weaving, all over the region. They also discovered metal and glass-making slag, but the workshop that produced these materials has yet to be discovered.

The archaeologists have discovered multiple burials, including two rare cow or bull burials and a remarkable burial of a human with outstretched arms to the side and a rope wrapped around the knees. The researchers are still looking into these burials in the hopes of figuring out what happened to them and what they say.

It's unknown why a cow or bull's bones were buried in the Lost Golden City. (Photo courtesy of Egypt's Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.)


The team recently discovered a vessel containing approximately 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of dried or boiled meat. The inscription on this vessel reads: Year 37, dressed meat from the slaughterhouse of the stockyard of Kha made by the butcher luwy for the third Heb Sed festival.

The archaeologists said in a statement that this important knowledge not only gives us the names of two people who lived and worked in the area, but also confirms that the city was active during King Amenhotep III's co-regency with his son Akhenaten. Furthermore, the team discovered a mud seal that reads "gm pa Aton," which translates to "the realm of the dazzling Aten," the name of a temple founded by King Akhenaten at Karnak.

The capital was transferred to Amarna one year after this pot was crafted, according to historical records. This was ordered by Akhenaten, who was notorious for requiring his people to worship only one god, the sun god Aten. However, Egyptologists remain perplexed as to why he relocated the capital and if the Golden City was actually lost at the time. According to the statement, it's also unknown if the city was repopulated when King Tut returned to Thebes and reopened it as a religious center.

Further excavations can reveal more about the city's turbulent past. And there's still a lot of ground to cover. "We can reveal that the city stretches all the way to the famous Deir el-Medina," Hawass said, referring to an ancient worker's village populated by the crafters and artisans who constructed the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.

 

In addition, archaeologists discovered a massive cemetery in the north that has yet to be completely excavated. So far, the team has discovered a group of rock-cut tombs that can only be reached through rock-cut stairs, a feature that can also be found in the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Nobles.

Archaeologists hope to excavate these tombs in the coming months to learn more about the people and treasures buried there.

Read Original Article Here Published By Live Science.

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