Egypt has announced the discovery in the southern city of Luxor of a pharaonic tomb belonging to a royal goldsmith who lived more than 3,500 years ago and whose work was dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Amun.
The tomb, located on the west bank of the river Nile in a cemetery for noblemen and top officials, is a relatively modest discovery, but one that authorities have announced with a great deal of fanfare in a bid to boost the country’s slowly recovering tourism industry.
“We want tomorrow’s newspapers to speak about Egypt and make people want to come to Egypt,” antiquities minister Khaled el-Anani told reporters, reflecting the country’s desperate need to revitalise tourism.
El-Anani said the tomb was not in good condition, but contained a partially damaged sandstone statue of the goldsmith, named Amenemhat, and his wife. Between the couple stands a smaller figure of one of their sons.
The tomb has two burial shafts, one of which was likely dug to bury the mummies of the goldsmith and his wife. It also contained wooden funerary masks and a collection of statues of the couple, according to a ministry statement. Three mummies were found in the shaft.
It said a second shaft contained a collection of sarcophagi from the 21st and 22nd dynasties.
The tomb belonged to the 18th pharaonic dynasty when Amun was the most powerful deity. It was discovered by Egyptian archaeologists, something that a senior official at the Antiquities Ministry hailed as evidence of their growing professionalism and expertise.
“We used to escort foreign archaeologists as observers, but that’s now in the past. We are the leaders now,” said Mustafa Waziri, the ministry’s chief archaeologist in Luxor.