Egypt to unveil ‘portion’ of 3,000-year old city

People stand by the village of Al-Qarna near the Colossi of Memnon (not pictured), the ruins of two stone statues that guarded the mortuary temple built for Pharaoh Amenhotep III, amid the coronavirus disease pandemic in the West Bank of Luxor, Egypt, Apr
People stand by the village of Al-Qarna near the Colossi of Memnon (not pictured), the ruins of two stone statues that guarded the mortuary temple built for Pharaoh Amenhotep III, amid the coronavirus disease pandemic in the West Bank of Luxor, Egypt, Apr

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LUXOR, Apr 10 — Archaeologists near Luxor have unearthed just a portion of the “largest” ancient city ever found in Egypt and dating to a golden pharaonic age 3,000 years ago, officials said today.

Famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass had announced earlier this week the discovery of the “lost golden city”, saying the site was uncovered near Luxor, home of the legendary Valley of the Kings.

A new archaeological discovery is seen in Luxor, Egypt, in this undated handout photo. — Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptology and High Council of Antiquities Joint Mission handout via Reuters
A new archaeological discovery is seen in Luxor, Egypt, in this undated handout photo. — Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptology and High Council of Antiquities Joint Mission handout via Reuters

“We found one portion of the city only. But the city extends to the west and the north,” Hawass told AFP today ahead of a press conference in the archaeologically rich area. 

Betsy Bryan, professor of Egyptian art and archaeology at Johns Hopkins University, had said the find was the “second most important archaeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun” nearly a century ago, according to the excavation team’s statement on Thursday.

A man holds an unearthed pot at the site of the ‘Lost Golden City’, which was recently discovered by archaeologists, in the West Bank of Luxor, Upper Egypt, April 10, 2021. — Reuters pic
A man holds an unearthed pot at the site of the ‘Lost Golden City’, which was recently discovered by archaeologists, in the West Bank of Luxor, Upper Egypt, April 10, 2021. — Reuters pic

Items of jewellery have been unearthed, along with coloured pottery vessels, scarab beetle amulets and mud bricks bearing seals of Amenhotep III.

The team began excavations in September between the temples of Ramses III and Amenhotep III near Luxor, some 500 kilometres south of Cairo.

Amenhotep III inherited an empire that stretched from the Euphrates River in modern Iraq and Syria to Sudan and died around 1354 BC, ancient historians say.

He ruled for nearly four decades, a reign known for its opulence and the grandeur of its monuments, including the Colossi of Memnon — two massive stone statues near Luxor that represent him and his wife.

“It’s not only a city — we can see... economic activity, workshops and ovens,” Mostafa Waziri, head of the country’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said today.

Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass speaks as he unveils details of the recent discovery of the ‘Lost Golden City’, in the West Bank of Luxor, Upper Egypt, April 10, 2021. — Reuters pic
Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass speaks as he unveils details of the recent discovery of the ‘Lost Golden City’, in the West Bank of Luxor, Upper Egypt, April 10, 2021. — Reuters pic

Since the announcement, some scholars have disputed that Hawass and his team have succeeded where others had failed by locating the city.

Egyptologist Tarek Farag posted yesterday on Facebook that the area was first excavated more than a century ago by a team from New York’s Metropolitan Museum.

But Waziri dismissed these concerns, saying previous digs had taken place further afield to the south the site. — AFP

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