Time.news – The ancient city of Aten, known as the “lost city of gold”, dating back to about 3 thousand years ago and located not far from Luxor. “It may be the second most important archaeological discovery ever made since the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb,” said Betsy Bryan, a professor of Egyptology at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the mission, in a note from the Washington Post.

Aten is believed to have been founded by Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who ruled Egypt from 1391 to 1352 BC, quickly becoming the most important administrative and industrial settlement of the time. “His discovery – added Bryan – will give us new opportunities to understand how the ancient Egyptians lived” at a time when the empire was at its peak.

“Many international missions have searched for this city and have never found it,” said Zahi Hawass, an archaeologist and former minister for Antiquities of the African country, now leading the research team. Archaeologists had already begun excavating in September in a limited area between the temples of Pharaoh Ramses III and Amenhotep III. The original goal of the mission, however, isto find the mortuary temple of Pharaoh Tutankhamun and certainly not the city of Aten.

“Within a few weeks, to the team’s surprise, mud brick formations began to emerge in many directions,” reads the mission’s statement. In short, what was coming to light “was the site of a large city in a good state of conservation, with almost complete walls, and with rooms full of tools used in everyday life”.

The city was active during the reign of Amenhotep III and that of his son, Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhenaten, but was also ruled by Tutankhamun and his successor, the pharaoh Ay. Hawass told how the streets of the city are still lined with many houses today, some of which have walls almost 3 meters high.

The team of archaeologists on the expedition “dated the settlement using hieroglyphic inscriptions found on vases, rings, scarabs, pottery and mud bricks in which the seals of King Amenhotep III were engraved.” In the various excavations carried out, “the mission found many tools used related to industrial activities such as spinning and weaving”, we read in the note in which it is added that “metal and glass-making slags were also found”.

In another area, the remains of a person were found with his arms stretched out on his hips and a rope wrapped around his knees. A large cemetery was instead found north of the city, together with a group of tombs cut into the rock. “Work is underway and the researchers working on the mission expect to discover intact tombs full of treasures,” the statement concludes.

That of the “lost golden city” is the latest in a series of archaeological discoveries made in recent months across the country that are helping experts to better understand what happened during the dynasties that ruled ancient Egypt. The Cairo government hopes they can support the tourism industry hit by the coronavirus pandemic, attacks by Islamic militants and political instability in recent years.

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