A large pharaonic city, built more than 3,400 years ago during the opulent reign of Amenhotep III, has been uncovered in Egypt.
Experts have described the site as “ancient Egypt‘s Pompeii” due to how well it has been preserved – despite lying unseen for centuries.
Archaeologists began searching for a mortuary temple near Luxor in September, but then found mud brick formations in every direction.
They unearthed the city which still had almost complete walls and rooms filled with tools, jewellery, scarabs, coloured pottery and bricks bearing seals of Amenhotep’s cartouche.
It has been described as the “lost golden city of Luxor”.
Team leader Zahi Hawass said: “The city’s streets are flanked by houses… some of their walls are up to three metres high.”
The excavations lie on the West Bank of Luxor close to the Valley of the Kings and near the Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu and the mortuary temple of King Ramses II.
“This is a very important discovery,” Peter Lacovara, director of the US-based Ancient Egyptian Heritage and Archaeology Fund, told Reuters.
“It is a sort of ancient Egyptian Pompeii and shows the critical need to preserve this area as an archaeological park.”
The site contains a large number of ovens and kilns for making glass and ceramics, along with the debris of thousands of statues.
Betsy Bryan, a specialist of Amenhotep III’s reign, said: “Just to locate the manufacturing centres opens up the detail of how the Egyptians under a great and wealthy ruler such as Amenhotep III did what they did.
“This will furnish knowledge for many years to come.”
According to historical references, the city included three of Amenhotep III’s palaces and the empire’s administrative and industrial centre.