Photos show ancient Egyptian artifacts and skeletons found in a ‘lost golden city’ built by King Tut’s grandfather

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An ancient Egyptian artifact at the site of the newly discovered “lost golden city” in present-day Luxor.

  • Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed a 3,400-year-old “lost golden city” in Luxor over the last seven months.
  • In 1935, a French excavation team searched for the city – which may be the largest ever built in Ancient Egypt – but never found it.
  • The city, named “tehn Aten,” or the dazzling Aten, was built by Amenhotep III, King Tut’s grandfather. He is considered the wealthiest Pharaoh who ever lived.
  • Photos from the site show colored pottery, scarab-beetle amulets, jewelry, wine caskets, mud bricks, and an ancient bakery. Only one-third of Aten has been uncovered so far.
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On the banks of the Nile River, 300 miles south of Cairo, sits the city of Luxor. It’s adjacent to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, where archaeologists discovered King Tutankhamen’s tomb a century ago.

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Former Egyptian minister of antiquities and archaeologist Zahi Hawass stands amongst the ruins of a newly discovered ancient city in Luxor, April 10, 2021.

Somewhere nearby, King Tut should have a mortuary temple, where priests and relatives left gifts and tribute for the pharaoh to enjoy in the afterlife. But it was never found. 

In September, archaeologist Zahi Hawass, the former Egyptian minister of antiquities, set out to find it.

 

Hawass’ team began searching an area of Luxor where Tut’s successors, Ay and Horemheb, built their mortuary temples. But instead of Tut’s temple, they uncovered an enormous, well-preserved metropolis.

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Walls of an ancient city found in Luxor, Egypt, April 8, 2021.

Within weeks of the start of their dig, Hawass’ team uncovered mud bricks stamped with Pharaoh Amenhotep III’s name. That helped them estimate the city was built 3,400 years ago, since Amenhotep III ruled between 1391 BC and 1353 BC.

“I called the city ‘the golden city’ because it was built during the golden age of Egypt,” Hawass told Insider.

Amenhotep III was King Tut’s grandfather, and “the wealthiest Pharaoh who ever lived,” according to Betsy Bryan, an Egyptologist from Johns Hopkins University.

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The funerary mask of Tutankhamen, or King Tut, in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Amenhotep III ruled during a time of peace, which helped him amass unprecedented wealth, Bryan told Insider.

“He was never at war. All he did was sit back and count money for 40 years, so he built constantly,” she said.

Archaeologists knew the Pharaoh had funneled some of his riches into building a city in this area of Egypt: “This is a place we knew existed,” Bryan said. But its precise location had eluded diggers for almost a century.

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Egyptian excavation workers stand in front of the ruins of the newly discovered “lost golden city” in Luxor.

“Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it,” Hawass said in a press release, adding it may be the largest ancient city ever found in Egypt.

In 1934 and 1935, a French excavation team searched Luxor for the “lost golden city” but came up empty, Hawass said.

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The Colossi of Memnon in Luxor, May 18, 2015.

That effort failed because the French archaeologists had been looking in the wrong place, Hawass added. Figuring the city would be clustered around buildings dedicated to the Pharaoh who built it, the group searched next to the Collosi of Memnon: twin statues that depicted Amenhotep III. The Pharaoh’s mortuary temple was nearby as well — but they had no luck finding the city.

“It never occurred to them to look slightly south,” Bryan said.

The lost city, it turns out, was located to the south and west of Amenhotep III’s mortuary temple.

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Workers carry a fish covered in gold found in Luxor, April 10, 2021.

So far, Hawass’ team has uncovered remnants of the city in an area that’s at least half a square mile.  

But the city is likely far larger, Bryan said, stretching all the way to the Pharaoh’s palace at Malkata, which is almost 2 miles south of the Colossi of Memnon.

In addition to the city’s size, Hawass said, “the huge amount of artifacts” his team uncovered there makes this an unprecedented archaeological find.

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Egyptian excavation workers prepare to display ancient Egyptian artifacts like pottery vessels found in Luxor.

“It will give us a rare glimpse into the life of the ancient Egyptians at the time where the empire was at its wealthiest,” he said in a press release.

The city’s streets are flanked with buildings, some of which have walls 9 feet tall.

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A new archaeological discovery is seen in Luxor, Egypt, April 8, 2021.

Scattered throughout those structures, Hawass’ team found rooms filled with pottery, glass, metalwork, and weaving tools. Ancient Egyptians once used these objects in their day-to-day lives, but the tools had lain untouched for millennia. 

Hawass’ excavation team also found a large cemetery north of the city.

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An Egyptian excavation worker removes a cover from a skeleton found at the “lost golden city” in present-day Luxor.

They haven’t figured out how big the cemetery is yet, but the team discovered a cluster of underground tombs with stairs leading to each tomb entrance.

In one part of the cemetery, the diggers found a grave holding a skeleton with a rope wrapped around its knees.

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A skeleton uncovered at the “lost golden city” in present-day Luxor.

Hawass is still investigating why the body was buried in this manner.

The city seems to be divided into industrial and residential areas. In the south, archaeologists found an ancient bakery with a cooking and meal-preparation area, ovens, and pottery used for storing food.

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Egyptian excavation workers carry pottery vessels into storage.

Another neighborhood had multiple workshops: one for producing mud bricks used to build temples, and another for producing amulets.

Another part of the city was all houses. 

“For those of us interested in the people and how they did stuff, this place is a treasure trove,” Bryan said.

Nearby the cemetery, Hawass’ team found a piece of pottery containing 22 pounds of dried meat, likely from a butcher at a slaughterhouse.

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Egyptian excavation workers prepare to display ancient Egyptian artifacts ahead of a press conference on April 10, 2021.

The vessel had an inscription indicating that the meat was for a festival celebrating the continued rule of Amenhotep III.

The city dwellers were skilled craftsmen, Bryan said – they made fancy ceramic vessels, glassware, and temple decorations in the name of Amenhotep III.

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A scarab-beetle amulet and other amulets discovered in the “lost golden city” at Luxor.

“It really is like peeking into the king’s private storage unit,” she said. “That kind of specialization was rarely seen anywhere.” 

Hawass’ team also uncovered scarab-beetle amulets, rings, and wine caskets in the city.

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Rings of blue stone found in the “lost golden city” in Luxor.

According to Bryan, the city was Amenhotep III’s love letter to the god Aten.

“When ancient Egyptian kings built, they would dedicate their construction to a deity and associate themselves with that deity,” she said.

Aten was depicted as a sun disc. Archaeologists typically associated the deity with Amenhotep III’s son, Akhenaten, who worshipped Aten instead of the chief Egyptian god of the sun and air, Amon.

This discovery shows that Amenhotep III believed in Aten too, Hawass said — which explains why the Pharoah named the city “tehn Aten,” meaning the dazzling Aten.

After taking over from his father, Akhenaten – King Tut’s father – briefly lived in Aten. Then he moved 250 miles north to a city called Amarna, along with his people. That’s where King Tut was born.

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An ancient pottery vessel discovered in Luxor, Egypt.

Akhenaten’s exodus to Amarna could be why so many tools and artifacts were left behind in Aten. 

“When you pick up and move, you’re not going to take the ceramics,” Bryan said.

According to Hawass, Akhenaten fled to Amarna and built that city to escape the priests of Amon, who were displeased that their Pharaoh was worshipping a different god than their own.

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Temple of the Aten in Amarna, Egypt.

Akhenaten was branded a heretic. Following his death, King Tut’s family moved to Thebes, another city in the Luxor area that served as the ancient Egyptian capital.

It’s unclear whether Aten was ever reoccupied.

Hawass said there’s plenty more to find of the “lost golden city,” since only one-third of it has been uncovered so far.

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Former Egyptian minister of antiquities Zahi Hawass speaks during a press conference on the newly discovered “lost golden city” in Luxor, April 10, 2021.

“We still think that the city has an extension to the west and to the north, and that is our goal by next September,” Hawass said. 

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Dispo is the buzzy, invite-only photo app that’s being called both the ‘new Instagram’ and the ‘anti-Instagram’

Watching on multiple devices
Dispo offers users a more authentic approach to taking photos.

For the last 10 years, Instagram has dominated the photo app scene, but now its potential rival has arrived. 

Dispo, a new, invite-only app, offers users a more authentic approach to taking photos by bringing disposable cameras back into fashion, but in digital form.

The app has attracted significant buzz since its launch in February, becoming the fourth most downloadable app on the App Store, as reported by Entrepreneur. 

According to Axios, the app is valued at about $200 million. 

The simple concept helps it stands out among competitors, including Google photos, CNBC reports. 

Users can take as many photos as they like, but unlike Instagram, the photos cannot be edited with filters, stickers, and texts and cannot be accessed immediately until the photos have been “developed,” as reported by CNBC. The photos can be accessed the following morning at 9 a.m.

Dispo users can also choose whether they would like to post their pictures in a solo or a ‘shared’ roll with other people.

The idea is that users will enjoy their experiences while fully in the moment and without receiving immediate gratification. This makes Dispro the ‘anti-Instagram’ social media platform, according to BuzzFeed.

Entrepreneur’s report quoted Dispo user Terry O’Neal as saying: “Instagram turned everyone into general photographers. Dispo makes you a photographer with a purpose. That is where the construction of the community is: everyone seeks the same thing through their own lens.”

In a recent interview with The New York Times, David Dobrik, a popular YouTuber and creator of Dispo, discussed why he purposely limited the options. He said: “When I used to go to parties with my friends, they had disposable cameras all over the house, and they invited people to take pictures at night. In the morning, they would pick up all the cameras, look back at the footage and say, ‘What happened last night?’ 

The proliferation of invite-only apps has been rising in recent months. Founded in 2020, Clubhouse, an invite-only chatting app, disrupted the social media landscape. The app creates a space for users to meet up to host, tune in, and in some circumstances, join conversations within a community consisting of venture capitalists, celebrities, journalists, and more. 

 

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NASA shared some interstellar fireworks to bring 2020 to an end. The Orion Nebula looks like a rainbow canvas peppered with dots of light.

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A composite image of the Orion Nebula, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space telescope.

  • NASA’s final “Image of the Day” for 2020 depicts the Orion Nebula, located 1,500 light-years from Earth.
  • The Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes captured the stunning, colorful image.
  • Nebulae are giant clouds of gas and dust where new stars are born.
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NASA decided to share some interstellar fireworks to end an unforgettable year.

The agency posts an “image of the day,” every day, and the final image of 2020 did not disappoint.

A canvas of color, NASA’s December 31 image of the day depicts a composite image of the Orion Nebula, captured by the Hubble Space and Spitzer Space Telescopes.

It’s located more than 1,500 light-years away from Earth.

Nebulae like this one are interstellar nurseries  – giant clouds of gas and dust in space that cradle infant stars as they’re born. Some nebulae form as stars die: As a star’s core cools, it starts to shed its outer layers, which disperse to form gaseous clouds.

A rainbow canvas

To the naked eye, nebulae wouldn’t actually look like rainbow canvases peppered with dots of lights (which typically show new stars forming).

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope captured two nebula, or clouds of gas and dust. On the left, baby stars (the red and yellow dots) are born in a dark clearing of the nebula.

When space telescopes like the Hubble image the hydrogen, sulfur, and carbon molecules that make up nebulae like Orion, they don’t capture color. Rather, Hubble records particles of light, which NASA can then view through different filters that only let in certain wavelengths of color. Then they assign color to the particles that come through those filters (light than came through the red filter is assigned a red color, for example.)

Helix Nebula
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope captured this image of the Helix Nebula, which is located in the constellation Aquarius-about 700 light-years away from Earth.

By combining images of the same nebula viewed with different filters, the agency can create a composite, color image like the ones shown above.

“We often use color as a tool, whether it is to enhance an object’s detail or to visualize what ordinarily could never be seen by the human eye,” NASA said.

There are roughly 3,000 nebulae in our galaxy.

The closest known nebula to our planet is the Helix Nebula, the cosmic remnant of a dying star. It’s about half the distance from Earth as the Orion Nebula is – 700 light-years (so if you traveled at the speed of light, it’d take you 700 years to get there).

The Hubble Space Telescope has been imaging nebulae for 30 years, and these images help scientists learn more about how these cosmic clouds evolve, or even dim and shrink, over time.

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