Shaaban Bilal (Cairo)
In the middle of the Luxor desert in southern Egypt, the Egyptian mission succeeded in discovering the largest lost city under the sand that was called “Ascension 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.
The city contains many monuments that reveal the lifestyle of the kings of Egypt in the golden age, as this city is considered 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 with a height of about 3 meters and divided into Streets.
The Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, head of the Egyptian mission, said that the mission found the largest city ever in Egypt, which was founded by one of the greatest rulers of Egypt, King Amenhotep III, the ninth king of the Eighteenth Dynasty, who ruled Egypt from 1391 until 1353 BC. M., was shared by his son and future heir to the throne Amenhotep IV “Akhenaten” the last eight years of his reign.
The mission in this region worked to search for the funerary temple of King Tutankhamun, because the temples of “Horemheb” and “Ay” had been found before. Hawass confirmed that the mission revealed a part of the city extending to the west, while Deir el-Medina is considered 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, considered that the discovery of this lost city is the second important archaeological discovery after the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, explaining that 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 also Helps shed light on one of the greatest mysteries in history, and why did Akhenaten and Nefertiti decide 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, and the Egyptian mission began working in this area in search of the funerary temple of Tutankhamun, and King Ay, the successor of Tutankhamun, was the one who built his temple on a site that was later adjacent on his side. The southern 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 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 uncovered, while the mission found in the southern part of the bakery. The 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, well-organized units. 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.
As for the third area, it is the workshop, as it includes on one of its sides the production area of mud bricks used to build temples and annexes, and the bricks contain seals bearing the cartouches of King Amenhotep III (Neb Maat Ra), and a large number of casting molds for the production of amulets and delicate decorative elements were discovered, and this Another testament to the extensive activity in the city to produce the decorations of both temples and tombs.
Throughout the excavation areas, the mission found many tools used in industrial activity, such as spinning and weaving works, and rubble of metals and glass were also discovered, but the main area for such activity has not yet been discovered, in addition to finding two unfamiliar burials of a cow or an ox inside one The rooms, and research is still underway to determine the nature and purpose of these burials.
A wonderful burial of someone was also found with his arms stretched next to him, and the remains of a rope wrapped around his knees, and the location and position of this skeleton is somewhat strange, and there is more research on this matter, in addition to finding a vase containing two gallons of dried or boiled meat (Approx. 10 kg) and bears valuable inscriptions that can be read: “Year 37, boiled meat for the Valentine’s Day of the Third Dam from the butchery of the barn“ Kha ”made by the butcher Iwi.
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.