BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Egyptian “Lost Golden City” Uncovered Near Luxor

Archaeology reveals aspects of daily life 3,000 years ago, at height of Egypt’s power

Lost Golden City Excavation

The recent excavations near Luxor revealed a well-planned urban settlement with a residential and administrative quarter (above) surrounded by a sinusoidal or zigzag enclosure wall. Photo credit: Zahi Hawass.

New excavations near Luxor have revealed an extremely well-preserved urban settlement from  Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. It was a time when Egypt’s powerful pharaohs ruled over an expansive empire that stretched to the land of Canaan and beyond. Known in antiquity as Aten, the settlement dates to the reign of Amenhotep III (1391–1353 B.C.E.) and his successors. The “lost golden city” may have been established to support and help administer the pharaoh’s royal residence, located nearby at the site of Malqata.

The excavations, which began in September 2020 under famed Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, are remarkable for what they reveal about daily life in New Kingdom Egypt, when Egyptian influence reached its peak across the ancient world. In one particularly well-preserved area, archaeologists uncovered an orderly and well-planned residential and administrative district enclosed by a well-built sinusoidal (zigzag) wall with a single entrance, suggesting access was restricted. Elsewhere, an almost industrial-scale bakery with ovens and large storage jars was discovered. The scale suggests that large numbers of residents, including laborers, needed to be fed. Another area revealed several workshops that produced everything from mud bricks for royal building projects to finer objects like jewelry and amulets.

Archaeological work at the site is expected to continue in the coming years. Key questions to be addressed include the nature and extent of a large burial ground found north of the site. Researchers are also eager to learn more about how life at Aten changed following the reign of Amenhotep III. When Amenhotep III’s son, the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten, took power, he famously moved the royal capital to the site of Tell el Amarna in Middle Egypt. While the recent excavations found some evidence that life at the site continued through the reigns of both Tutankhamun and Ay, who ruled after Akhenaten, it remains unclear how Akhenaten’s tumultuous religious reforms impacted the everyday lives of the site’s inhabitants.

 

 

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

Did Pharaoh Sheshonq Attack Jerusalem? Shishak, actually Pharaoh Sheshonq I, left his own account of this northern campaign carved into the walls of the Temple of Karnak in Egypt, but he does not mention Jerusalem among the places he conquered.

Ancient Egyptian Beer Vessels Unearthed in Tel Aviv, Israel The excavation, led by Diego Barkan of the IAA, revealed 17 Early Bronze Age I (c. 3500–3100 B.C.E.) pits, in which were found hundreds of sherds from locally produced pots as well as fragments of large ceramic basins used to prepare beer.

Akhenaten and Moses Defying centuries of traditional worship of the Egyptian pantheon, Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten decreed during his reign in the mid-14th century B.C.E. that his subjects were to worship only one god: the sun-disk Aten.

Epilepsy, Tutankhamun and Monotheism Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 not only revealed the opulence of Egyptian antiquities, it sparked one of the greatest medical and forensic mysteries in human history.

Bronze Age Collapse: Pollen Study Highlights Late Bronze Age Drought During the Late Bronze Age (1500–1200 B.C.E.), the Eastern Mediterranean boasted a flourishing network of grand empires sustaining sophisticated infrastructures, the likes of which the world would not see again for centuries to come

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1 Responses

  1. Peter Richard says:

    An exciting find for sure. A number of questions immediately come to mind. This ‘city’ was clearly a slaves’ quarters – nine foot high walls with a single entrance were there to keep people in – so who were these slaves? The population of the city appears to have left in a real hurry – semi-precious jewelry, bread in ovens, unburied bodies of the dead, all left for the desert to reclaim – why did they leave so quickly? Also, the dead – what gender were they, and how did they die?

    One theory is that the hasty departure or ‘exodus’ of these slaves is something we’ve read about before. They were manufacturers of bricks for the pharoah’s building projects. The time period is within the realm of possibility. Semi-precious jewelry is only left behind if you have gold jewelry to take instead. Baked bread is only left behind if you don’t have time to take it out of the oven fully-baked before you leave urgently. The bodies left unburied – are they all male (first-born)? – the cause of death will be fascinating to learn.

    Even if this was not the actual home of Jacob’s descendants, it is almost certainly a facsimile of where they did live.

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1 Responses

  1. Peter Richard says:

    An exciting find for sure. A number of questions immediately come to mind. This ‘city’ was clearly a slaves’ quarters – nine foot high walls with a single entrance were there to keep people in – so who were these slaves? The population of the city appears to have left in a real hurry – semi-precious jewelry, bread in ovens, unburied bodies of the dead, all left for the desert to reclaim – why did they leave so quickly? Also, the dead – what gender were they, and how did they die?

    One theory is that the hasty departure or ‘exodus’ of these slaves is something we’ve read about before. They were manufacturers of bricks for the pharoah’s building projects. The time period is within the realm of possibility. Semi-precious jewelry is only left behind if you have gold jewelry to take instead. Baked bread is only left behind if you don’t have time to take it out of the oven fully-baked before you leave urgently. The bodies left unburied – are they all male (first-born)? – the cause of death will be fascinating to learn.

    Even if this was not the actual home of Jacob’s descendants, it is almost certainly a facsimile of where they did live.

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