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The Egyptian mission headed by Dr. Zahi Hawass discovered the lost city under the sand, which was called “The Ascent of Aton,” which dates back to the reign of King Amenhotep III, and the city continued to be used by Tutankhamun, that is, 3000 years ago.
Dr. Zahi Hawass said that work began in this area to search for the funerary temple of King Tutankhamun, because the temples of “Horemheb” and “A” had already been found.
Hawass confirmed that the mission found the largest city ever in Egypt, which was founded by one of the greatest rulers of Egypt, King Amenhotep the Third, the ninth king of the Eighteenth Dynasty, who ruled Egypt from 1391 until 1353 BC.
His son and future heir to the throne, Amenhotep IV, “Akhenaten”, shared with him the last eight years of his reign. Hawass added that this city was the largest administrative and industrial settlement in the era of the Egyptian Empire on the West Bank of Luxor, where houses were found in the city, some of which were about 3 meters high, and divided into streets. “Hawass” continued, “We uncovered a part of the city extending to the west, while Deir el-Medina is part of our city.”
Excavations began in September 2020, and within weeks, mud brick formations began to appear in all directions, and the mission was astonished when they discovered that the site is a large city in a good state of preservation, with almost complete walls, and rooms full of tools of daily life. Archaeological layers have remained intact for thousands of years, and the ancient inhabitants left them as if they were yesterday.
Dr. “Betsy Bryan”, Professor of Egyptology at Johns Hopkins University, said that the discovery of this lost city is the second important archaeological discovery after the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. The discovery of this city not only gives us a rare glimpse into the life of the ancient Egyptians in the era of the empire, but it will also help us shed light on one of the greatest mysteries in history and why Akhenaten and Nefertiti decided to move to Amarna ?! The excavation area is located between the Temple of Ramses III in Medinet Habu and the Temple of Amenhotep III in Memnon.
The Egyptian mission began working in this area in search of the funerary temple of Tutankhamun, and it was King Ay, the successor of Tutankhamun, who built his temple on a site that was later adjoined on its southern side at the Temple of Ramses III in Medinet Habu.
The first objective of the mission was to determine the history of this city, as hieroglyphic inscriptions were found on the ceramic lids of wine vessels, and historical references tell us that the city consisted of three royal palaces of King Amenhotep III, in addition to the administrative and industrial center of the empire.
A large number of archaeological discoveries have confirmed the history of the city, such as rings, scarabs, colored pottery and mud bricks bearing the seals of King Amenhotep the Third, and after only seven months of excavation, several areas or neighborhoods of that city were discovered.
In the southern part, the mission found the bakery, cooking area and food preparation places complete with ovens and clay storage utensils, which was serving a large number of workers and employees. As for the second area, which has been partially disclosed, it represents the administrative and residential district, as it includes larger units with good organization. This area is fenced by a zig-zag wall, with only one entry point leading to interior corridors and residential areas. And this one entrance made us believe it was a kind of security in terms of being able to control entry and exit into closed areas.
The winding walls are a rare architectural element in ancient Egyptian architecture, and were used mainly at the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty. As for the third area, it is the workshop, as it includes on one of its sides the area of production of mud bricks used to build temples and annexes, and the bricks contain seals bearing the cartouches of King Amenhotep III (Neb Maat Ra).
A large number of casting molds were discovered for the production of amulets and delicate decorative elements, and this is further evidence of the widespread activity in the city to produce the decorations of both temples and tombs. The mission found, throughout the excavation areas, many tools used in industrial activity, such as spinning and weaving, and rubble of metals and glass were discovered, but the main area for such activity has not yet been discovered.
Two unfamiliar burials of a cow or bull were also found inside one of the rooms, and research is still underway to determine the nature and purpose of these burials. A wonderful burial was also found for a person with his arms stretched out to his side, and the remains of a rope wrapped around his knees, and the location and position of this skeleton is somewhat strange. What, there is more research on this.
A container containing two gallons of dried or boiled meat (about 10 kg) was also found, and it bears valuable inscriptions that can be read: “Year 37, boiled meat for Valentine’s Day of the Third Dam from the barn (kha) butchery made by the butcher Iwi.” This valuable information not only gives us the names of two people who lived and worked in the city, but also confirms that the city was active and determined the time of King Amenhotep III’s participation with his son Akhenaten. The mission also found a text inscribed on the imprint of a seal that reads: “Jim Ba Aten” meaning the province of Aton al-Sata, and this is the name of a temple built by King Akhenaten at Karnak. A large cemetery has also been uncovered, the extent of which has not yet been determined, and the mission discovered a group of tombs carved into the rocks of various sizes, which can be accessed through stairs carved into the rock, and there is a common feature of building tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Nobles. The work is still underway and the mission expects to uncover untouched graves full of treasures. Ongoing excavations are giving archaeologists access to the city’s original layer of activity, as information has been unveiled that will change history and give us unique insight into the Tutankhamun family.
The discovery of the lost city will also provide us with a deeper understanding of the daily life of the ancient Egyptians in terms of the way they were built and decorated homes, the tools they used, and how the work was organized.
Only a third of the area has been uncovered so far, and the mission will continue excavations, including the area identified as the potential site of Tutankhamun’s funerary temple.
“Hawass” concluded that we have a lot of information about tombs and temples, but this is the first time that they reveal secrets about the life of the kings of the golden age of Egypt.
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