Egyptian authorities have announced that a never-before-seen royal tomb has been uncovered in Luxor, Egypt, dating back around 3,500 years. Archaeologists believe it belongs to a royal of the 18th Dynasty of Pharaonic Egypt (1550 BC to 1292 BC), but it has not yet been revealed who and what is inside.
Dr. Mustafa Waziri , General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the tomb was unearthed on the west bank of the Nile River, where the famous Valley of the Queens is located.
Valley of the Queens
The Valley of the Queens, also known as Biban el-Harim, is a valley in Luxor, Egypt that was used as a necropolis for the wives and children of pharaohs during the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties of ancient Egypt. The valley contains around 75 tombs, including the tomb of Nefertari, the wife of Pharaoh Ramses II, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful tombs in the valley. The tombs in the valley are known for their well-preserved paintings and inscriptions, which provide valuable insights into the lives and beliefs of the ancient Egyptians.
The location of the newly-discovered tomb on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. Credit: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
A Royal of the Thutmosid Lineage?
Phys.org reports that Piers Litherland of the University of Cambridge, head of the British research mission, said the tomb could be of a royal wife or princess of Thutmosid lineage.
The Thutmosid pharaohs include some of the most famous kings of ancient Egypt, such as Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Amenhotep II, and Tutankhamun. During their reign, the Thutmosid pharaohs expanded the territory of Egypt through military campaigns, built monumental architectural projects such as temples, tombs and statues, and promoted the arts, literature and religion. They also increased the power and wealth of the central government and the royal court. The 18th dynasty was considered a golden age for ancient Egypt and it was the most powerful and prosperous dynasty in the New Kingdom. The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated, as it will shed new light on the cultural heritage of this era.
A photo taken from inside the entrance of the tomb looking out. The tomb has been secured with a metal gate to prevent looting. Credit: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
Damage from Floods
The joint Egyptian-English mission between the Supreme Council for Archaeology and the Modern State Research Foundation of Cambridge University, led by Dr. Fathi Yassin, is continuing its excavation and documentation of the cemetery. However, it is in poor condition due to ancient floods, which filled the tomb with sand and limestone.
Recent discoveries in Egypt are playing a crucial role in reviving the country’s vital tourism industry. The highlight of these efforts is the highly anticipated opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, located at the base of the iconic pyramids.
Top image: The royal tomb discovered in Luxor. Credit: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.
By Joanna Gillan