Archaeological investigations at a site between the temples of Ramses III and Amenhotep III in Luxor, southern Egypt, have revealed the remains of a large, well-preserved city founded by Pharaoh Amenhotep III (r. 1391-1353 BC) in the Eighteenth Dynasty.
The city is situated near to Amenhotep III’s royal palaces and may have provided food and other items to the royal residence, as well as acting as the administrative and industrial centre of the empire. Archaeologists have discovered the city’s administrative district, which is a well-organised area with large mud-brick structures, surrounded by an unusual zigzag wall with just one entry point.
Excavations have also identified a district in the southern part of the city where cooking and food preparation took place on a large scale, as well as a workshop area, where evidence has been found for the production of mud bricks bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep III and the creation of amulets and other decorative objects. Tools used in other industries, such as spinning, weaving, and metal- and glass-working have also been found in buildings around the city, although the main areas where these activities occurred have not yet been discovered.
Other significant finds include an abundance of pottery, rings, and scarabs, as well as a container of 10kg of dried or boiled meat bearing an inscription that gives us the names of two of the city’s inhabitants, the owner of the stockyard, Kha, and the butcher, Iwi, as well as the year, 37, confirming that the site was active during the last years of Amenhotep III’s reign, when he ruled with his son Akhenaten.
Also found by the team, led by Dr Zahi Hawass, were two unusual cow burials, and a human buried with arms stretched out next to them with rope around their knees, as well as a large cemetery, and a group of rock-cut graves, the full extent of which is not yet known.