A 3,500-year-old tomb built for a goldsmith named Amenemhat and his wife Amenhotep, has been discovered at the ancient cemetery of Dra’ Abu el-Naga in Luxor, the Egyptian antiquities ministry announced today (Sept. 9) at a press conference in Luxor.
Inside the tomb were also the remains of several mummies, wooden coffins, skeletal remains, pottery and small statues, according to photos released by the ministry. Jewelry and shabti figurines — which did the work of the deceased in the afterlife — were also found in the tomb, officials said.
Hieroglyphic inscriptions found inside the tomb reveal that it was originally built for a man named Amenemhat, who was a goldsmith. The inscriptions say that his wife was named Amenhotep, a name typically used in ancient Egypt for a man, officials said. However, the inscriptions said that Amenhotep held the title “lady of the house.” Why Amenhotep used a name usually used for a man in ancient Egypt is unclear.
The couple lived in the 15th century B.C., during the 18th dynasty, which is part of a period in Egypt’s historythat modern-day scholars call the New Kingdom, said Khaled El-Enany, Egypt’s antiquities minister, during the press conference. During the New Kingdom, Egypt was united under a single pharaoh, and Egypt’s power was on the rise.
The tomb was later reused during the 11th and 10th centuries B.C., during the 21st and 22nd dynasties, a time that modern-day scholars call the Third Intermediate Period, said El-Enany during the press conference. Egypt was not always united during the Third Intermediate Period, and, at times, part of the country was ruled by Libyan groups.
Excavations inside the tomb are ongoing and more discoveries will likely be announced in the next month, El-Enany said.
The tomb was discovered by an Egyptian antiquities ministry team led by
Mostafa Waziri, the head of the ministry’s Luxor department. In April, Waziri’s team discovered the tomb of a judgeat Dra’ Abu el-Naga; Waziri believes that four more tombs will be found close to where the goldsmith’s tomb is located, he said during the press briefing. “If we keep digging, we’ll find four more tombs in the area,” Waziri said, adding “wish us luck.”
Amenemhat’s tomb is the second tomb belonging to an Egyptian goldsmith that has been found so far this year. In June, Live Science reported that another tombbelonging to an Egyptian goldsmith had been discovered on Sai Island in what is now Sudan.