Archaeologists uncover 3,000-year-old “lost golden city” buried under sands in Egypt

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of an ancient city in the desert outside Luxor that they say is the “largest” ever found in Egypt and dates back to a golden age of the pharaohs 3,000 years ago.

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

“The Egyptian mission under Dr. Zahi Hawass found the city that was lost under the sands,” the excavation team said in a statement Thursday. “The city is 3,000 years old, dates to the reign of Amenhotep III, and continued to be used by Tutankhamun and Ay.”

A skeletal human remain is seen in Luxor
A skeletal human remain is seen in Luxor, Egypt, in this undated handout photo.

The team called the find “the largest” ancient city ever uncovered in Egypt.

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

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

“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it,” said Hawass, a former antiquities minister.

The team began excavations in September 2020, between the temples of Ramses III and Amenhotep III near Luxor, some 300 miles south of Cairo.

“Within weeks, to the team’s great surprise, formations of mud bricks began to appear in all directions,” the statement said.

“What they unearthed was the site of a large city in a good condition of preservation, with almost complete walls, and with rooms filled with tools of daily life.”

After seven months of excavations, several neighborhoods have been uncovered, including a bakery complete with ovens and storage pottery, as well as administrative and residential districts.

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.