On Saturday, Egyptian authorities announced the discovery of an ancient cemetery in Luxor, some 3,500 years old, which archaeologists believe contains the remains of the 18th ruling family.
Mostafa Waziri, chairman of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the tomb was discovered by Egyptian and British researchers on the west bank of the Nile, where the famous Valley of the Queens and Valley of the Kings are located.
Waziri said in a statement that “the first elements discovered so far inside the tomb indicate that it dates to the Eighteenth Dynasty of the pharaohs Akhenaten and Tutankhamun”.
The 18th Dynasty, part of the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom, ended in 1292 BC. and is considered one of the most prosperous years in ancient Egypt.
Pierce Litherland of the University of Cambridge, head of the UK research mission, said the tomb could belong to a royal woman or princess of the Thutmoseid dynasty.
Egyptian archaeologist Mohsen Kamel said the tomb’s interior was “in poor condition”.
Kamel explained in a statement to the Antiquities Authority that parts of it contained inscriptions that “were destroyed in the ancient floods that filled the burial chambers with deposits of sand and lime”.
Egypt has made several important archaeological discoveries in recent years, most notably in the Saqqara necropolis, south of the capital Cairo.
Critics say the excavation craze has prioritized discoveries that have been shown to grab media attention over difficult academic research.
But the discoveries have been a key part of Egypt’s effort to revitalize its vital tourism industry, and one jewel in the crown is the long-delayed opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum at the foot of the pyramids.
The country of 104 million inhabitants is experiencing a serious economic crisis.
Egypt’s tourism industry accounts for 10% of GDP and around two million jobs, according to official data, but has been hit by political unrest and the Covid pandemic.