Lost 'Golden city' discovered in Egypt

A 3,400-year-old lost city discovered in Egypt remains largely untouched and left alone by prior residents.

The 3,400-year-old city, discovered by archeologists near Luxor is the largest ancient settlement uncovered in Egypt to date. Dr. Zahi Hawaas pointed out how past foreign missions had searched for the city and failed. He shared the news publicly on his Facebook page.

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Buried in sand, the city was uncovered in September 2020 was revealed to the world in  September 2020. NBC News got a tour of the site where Hawass shared his optimism on the new discovery offering valuable insights into the life of the lives of people during the “Golden Age” when Egypt “ruled the world.” 

Despite finding a seal calling the city “the domain of the dazzling Aten,” Hawass nicknamed it “the Lost Golden city.” The team stumbled on the discovery as they searched for the Tutankhamun Mortuary Temple. Instead, they stumbled across this Amenhotep III era city spanning 1391 to 1353 B.C.

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The discovery should give us a view of ancient Egypt life at a time it was arguably at its wealthiest. The city is the most important find in the country since the archeological discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. 

The city is made of 10-foot high mud-bricked walls with many of the rooms comprised of tools used in daily life. It’s hard not to notice the zig-zag shape design that is characteristic of that ancient period. Only seven months into the excavation, archeologists have found bakery ovens, workshops, and tools used for industrial activity such as weaving and spinning. 

A surprising find was a skeleton buried to the ground arms outstretched on the sides with a rope binding the knees. The ministry described this development as odd and promised to have it investigated. A vessel containing 22 pounds of boiled or dried meat was also found with an inscription bearing the name of the butcher, year, and the festival season. According to the Egyptian archeological team, this statement shows proof of people working and living in this city. The statement also bears proof of thriving activity during the reign of Amenhotep III alongside his son Akhenaten who was later succeeded by Tutankhamen. 

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Future excavations of the Cemetary and unopened tombs will offer more answers about the time period. This find now adds to two other uncovered sites that date to this time period - Amenhotep III temple at Memnon and Rameses III's temple at Medinet Habu. Now experts can compare and contrast as to whether things were common across the empire during that time period. As one of the major settlements on the West Bank, it should provide several answers as to the temples, tombs, and cemeteries previously excavated on that landscape. 

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For instance, an unexplained mystery yet probable link could be unraveled as to why Akhenaten and his queen, Nefertiti, left the religion and Kingdom in Thebes (modern-day Luxor). Will the lost city bear insightful clues? It seems time will tell. As Hawaas puts it, “You never know what the sand of Egypt might hide.