‘lost golden city’ of ancient Egypt discovered 3,000 years old

Experts say Aten is the largest such city ever found and one of the most important finds since unearthing Tutankhamun’s tomb

Archaeology experts have said discovery of Aten – called the ‘lost golden city’ – is the largest ancient city uncovered in Egypt. Photograph: Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptolog/Reuters

Archaeologists have hailed the discovery of what is believed to be the largest ancient city found in Egypt, buried under sand for millennia, which experts said was one of the most important finds since the unearthing of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

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

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

It called the find the largest ancient city, known as Aten, 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”, according to the team’s statement.

Items of jewellery such as rings have been unearthed, along with coloured pottery vessels, scarab beetle amulets and mud bricks bearing the seals of Amenhotep III.

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

A skeletal human remain is seen near Luxor, Egypt. Photograph: Zahi Hawass Center for Egyptolog/Reuters

The team began excavations in September 2020, between the temples of Ramses III and Amenhotep III near Luxor, 500km (300 miles) south of the capital, Cairo.

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