Visitors can now peer into a 3,500-year-old Egyptian tomb near Luxor for the first time.
Statues of Amenemhat and his wife [Photo by Nariman El-Mofty, Associated Press]
According to archaeologists, this was the tomb of a goldsmith who had been dedicated to the Egyptian god Amun. The goldsmith's statue sits at the entrance of the tomb, alongside a statue of his wife, with a portrait of one of their sons in between them. There are more statues depicting the couple and one of their sons in the tomb's main chamber.
This, apparently, is the tomb of "Amun's Goldsmith, Amenemhat", who lived during the 18th Dynasty. This dynasty lasted from 1567 B.C. to 1320 B.C.
While the tomb isn't in good condition, it can actually be instrumental in finding other tombs in the same area. It's also a relatively modest find, but the announcement of this discovery can revive Egypt's tourism industry, which has suffered under political strife and terrorists attacks, Officials hope that opening the tomb to visitors can galvanize the country's tourism.
Ushabti statues [Photo by Nariman El-Mofty, Associated Press]
A team of Egyptian archaeologists toiled for five months under the hot Egyptian sun, until they were finally able to unearth the tomb. The tomb was situated in the necropolis of Draa Abul-Naga, which was dedicated to noblemen and rulers. The archaeologists Amenemhat, who lived sometime between 1567 B.C. to 1320 B.C., had been a goldsmith for the god Amun. This presumably gives him considerable status in Egyptian society at the time.
The main chamber contained statues of Amenemhat and his wife, as well as a smaller statue of one of their sons. There were also artifacts like funerary masks, pottery, and ushabti figurines. Ushabti figurines are small statues common in the average Egyptian tomb, intended by ancient Egyptians to serve the deceased in the afterlife.
Beyond the main chamber lies two other burial chambers. One of these chambers contains more statuettes of the goldmsith and his wife, as well as other mummified remains, sarcophagi, and funerary masks. The other chamber contains remains and sarcophagi from the 21st and 22nd Dynasties.
Upon exploring the tomb, the archaeologists found a number of burial shafts close to the chambers. One of the shafts revealed the remains of a woman as well as the remains of her two sons. Specialists found that the woman likely died at the age of 50, and also had a bacterial bone disease.
Three mummies and a sarcophagus in one of the burial shafts [Photo by Nariman El-Mofty, Associated Press]
It's unclear whether the three individuals in the burial shaft were related to Amenemhat, and how. As archaeologists find more and more things in the tomb, they unsurprisingly think up more questions than the ones they already know the answer to.
These chambers and burial shafts may not be the only things to be discovered in and around the site. For example, the archaeologists found 50 funerary cones. 40 of these cones indicate that there are other nearby tombs holding the remains of four officials from the same period.
This Egyptian tomb may not be a history-making find, but it can open up opportunities to explore more tombs in the same necropolis.
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