Egyptian Archaeologists Find Goldsmith’s 3,500-Year-Old Tomb
His name was Amenemhat, and he lived in Egypt about 3,500 years ago, toiling away as a royal goldsmith whose work was dedicated to an ancient Egyptian sun god.
After five months of digging under an unforgiving sun, a team of Egyptian archaeologists unearthed the tomb belonging to the goldsmith who had lived in the desert province of Luxor, the authorities said on Saturday.
The jeweler, who lived during the 18th dynasty (about 1567 B.C. to 1320 B.C.), had dedicated his work to Amon-Re, the most powerful deity at the time. Amenemhat’s tomb was found in Draa Abul-Naga, a necropolis for noblemen and rulers near the Valley of the Kings, on the left bank of the Nile River.
The discovery was a relatively modest one, but in a country that has been trying to revive its tourism industry, which has been decimated by political strife and terrorist attacks after the 2011 uprising, officials announced the find with fanfare.
“This find is important for marketing,” Egypt’s antiquities minister, Khaled el-Enany, said at a news conference outside the tomb on Saturday. “This is exactly what Egypt needs.”
The tomb’s main chamber had statues of Amenemhat and his wife seated on chairs, according to Mostafa Waziri, the archaeologist who led the dig. One statue shows her wearing a long dress and wig. A smaller statue, discovered between the couple, depicts one of their sons.
The chamber also contained pottery, wooden funerary masks and ushabti figurines, which are small blue, black or white statues that ancient Egyptians placed in tombs to serve the dead in the afterlife.
It also included a burial shaft that had three mummies with skulls were exposed, and sarcophagi.
“We are not sure if these mummies belong to Amenemhat and his family,” Mr. Waziri said in an interview. “Others have clearly reused this tomb and poked around in ancient times. That’s probably why their heads are uncovered.”
He added, “But we are extremely happy anyway, because this means that we will find more tombs in this area.”
Mr. Waziri said his team also found another burial shaft just outside Amenemhat’s tomb, which contained three other mummies from a later period.
This is the latest find in a series of discoveries made this year in Egypt. In March, Egyptian archaeologists discovered a Pharaonic colossus, and they unearthed 17 mummies in Minya in May. In April, they also found another tomb in Luxor, that of an 18th dynasty judge.
The newly discovered tomb, most likely belonging to a nobleman and city judge named Userhat, was apparently reopened in the 21st dynasty, about 300 years after it was built.
More than 1,000 funerary figurines, several wooden sarcophagi and mummies were among the artifacts discovered.
Swedish archaeologists also discovered 12 cemeteries near the southern city of Aswan that date almost 3,500 years ago.
Authorities hope that a recent surge in discoveries will attract tourists back to the country, after many people were put off by the protests that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and a string of bombings and terror attacks.
Egypt’s tourist revenues jumped 170 percent in the first seven months of this year, to $3.5 billion, according to the authorities, as new discoveries are made. Revenues have increased despite a continuing ban on flights from Russia, traditionally a major source of tourists, after a Russian plane crashed in the Sinai Peninsula in 2015, killing all 224 people on board.