Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 3,500-year-old royal tomb near Luxor. The tomb was probably built at a time when Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh, was co-ruling ancient Egypt.
“Partial inscriptions and ceramic evidence suggest that this was constructed during the joint reign of Thutmose III and Hatshepsut,” archaeologists said in a statement.
The grave was excavated by a team of archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the New Kingdom Research Foundation mission, which is affiliated with the MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge. The team found the tomb in October 2022 while exploring an area near Luxor called Wadi Gabbanat el-Qurud, which is near the Valley of the Kings.
Thutmose III was a child, possibly only 2 years old, when he came to the throne around 1479 BC, and Hatshepsut, his stepmother, served as his regent and later co-ruler until her death around 1458 BC. Their joint reign was punctuated by the building of a temple at Deir el-Bahri and a successful Egyptian expedition to a place known as Punt – which may have been located in East Africa.
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The newly discovered tomb contains multiple burials, and “the architecture, as now understood, indicates that the tomb was altered several times shortly after it was first built,” the team said in the statement.
The archaeologists are not sure who the tomb was originally built for. “Preserving decoration and the size of the few available chambers currently point to a royal burial of some importance, most likely, given the location [near the Valley of the Kings]the burial of a great royal wife and several children of a Thutmosid king,” the team said in the statement. It is not clear how many human remains there are.
The tomb was badly damaged by floods in ancient times. “Repeated flooding has completely filled the main axis of the tomb with concrete hard debris and has caused the roof of the tomb to weaken and collapse,” the team said in the statement.
Excavation and analysis of the grave’s remains is ongoing. “It will take several seasons to clear the chambers and make the tomb safe,” the statement said. Members of the team did not return requests for comment at the time of publication.
A number of recent archaeological discoveries have been made near Luxor, including a cache of priests, giant weather statues found near the Karnak Temple and mother of a teenager who were buried with fine jewelry.