An Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered the largest ancient city in Egypt. Known as Aten, it dates back to more than 3,000 BC. Former Minister of Antiquities and archaeologist Zahi Hawass said, “The archaeological mission discovered a buried city which dates from the reign of King Amenhotep III and which continued to be used by King Tutankhamon, that is to say 3000 years ago.” Amenhotep III came to the throne in 1391 BC and died in 1353 BC.
The discovery of this lost city is the second most important archaeological discovery since the tomb of TutankhamonBetsy Brian, professor of Egyptology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore
Objects, including jewelry and pottery bearing his seal were discovered in the city, confirming the dating. According to Zahi Hawass, it is “the largest ancient city in Egypt.” The mission began its excavations in September 2020 between the temples of Ramses III and Amenhotep III near Luxor, about 500 km south of Cairo.
“Within a few weeks, much to the team’s surprise, clay brick formations began to appear,” Zahi Hawass said. And the site is in a good state of preservation, with almost complete walls and rooms full of tools of daily life.
The city is composed of three royal palaces as well as the administrative and manufacturing center of the Empire. But the archaeologists also unearthed a food preparation area with a “bakery”, an administrative quarter and a workshop for construction. Two burials of cows or bulls as well as human remains were also discovered.
According to the BBC, Betsy Brian said that city would “give us a rare glimpse into the life of the ancient Egyptians” at the time when the empire was at its wealthiest.
After years of political instability linked to the popular revolt of 2011, which dealt a heavy blow to the key tourism sector, Egypt is seeking to bring back visitors, especially by promoting its ancient heritage. Last week, 22 chariots carrying mummies of ancient Egyptian kings and queens rolled through Cairo in a spectacular parade to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC), the new home of these royal remains.