Authorities offer look into newfound Egyptian tomb
and World Science staff
Egyptian authorities gave a peek Friday through a partly opened underground door into the first tomb uncovered in the Valley of the Kings since the tomb of King Tut in 1922.
U.S. archaeologists said they discovered the tomb by accident while working on a nearby site. It contains five human mummies and several pottery vessels and is just a few meters from the tomb of King Tutankhamen, according to archaeologists from the University of Memphis in Tennessee, who discovered the site.
The tomb, thought to be around 3,000 years old, does not seem to be that of a pharaoh. But it could be for members of a royal court, said Edwin Brock, co-director of the university.
Archaeologists haven’t entered the tomb, having only opened part of its nearly 5-foot-high entrance door last week. But they have peered inside the single chamber to see the sarcophagi, thought to contain mummies amid about 20 pharaonic jars.
A narrow shaft the bottom of a 33-foot (10m) deep pit leads down another 16 feet (5m) to the door, made of stone blocks. A hole about 1 foot (30 cm) wide has been opened from the door.
“It was just so amazing to find an intact tomb here after all the work that’s been done before. This was totally unexpected,” Brock said. The 18th Dynasty lasted from 1539 to 1292 B.C. and included the famed “boy King” Tut.
Archaeologists said they hope to remove the coffins before the end of the digging season, usually around May when the weather gets too hot to work in the deserts outside Luxor, 300 miles south of Cairo. “It’s going to take a lot of conservation work to consolidate these things before we can take them out,” Brock said.
When they returned to work during this excavation season, they opened the shaft and found the door, which was opened last week, Brock said. Since the discovery of Tut’s tomb, experts believed that the Valley of the Kings contained only the 62 previously known tombs, which archaeologists have labeled KV1 though KV62.
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