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Several packages wrapped in linen canvas (top left and bottom right) were found inside the chest. One package contained a wooden box (bottom left and top right), which is evidence that Thutmose II’s lost tomb is nearby.        Source: Andrzej Niwiński / Warsaw University’s Institute of Archaeology

Treasure Chest Found in Egypt Reveals Clues to Thutmose II’s Lost Tomb

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Archaeologists working at one of the most famous Egyptian archaeological sites have made an amazing discovery. They have come across a stone chest and a wooden box with unusual contents. Experts believe that these curious finds are very important, as they may indicate the lost tomb of  Pharaoh Thutmose II, who died over 3,500 years ago.

The find was made by a team of archaeologists from Poland’s Warsaw University’s Institute of Archaeology, led by professor Andrejz Niwiński. It was discovered at the Deir el-Bahari site in Egypt, on the banks of the Nile, and it is not far from the famous sites of Luxor and Karnak. Deir el-Bahari is a massive complex of royal tombs and other monuments, including the famed Mortuary Tomb of Hatshepsut. Polish teams have been working in this area since the 1960s.

Mysterious Stone Chest

The stone box with the artifacts was discovered completely by chance. It was found among some debris and it looked like just another block that was used in ancient times for building. Prof Niwiński told The First News that “only after a closer look did it turn out to be a chest.” The stone chest is 40 cm (16 inches) high and wide.

The stone box with the items wrapped in linen canvas found at the excavation site, which suggest Thutmose II’s tomb is nearby. (Andrzej Niwiński / Warsaw University’s Institute of Archaeology)

The stone box with the items wrapped in linen canvas found at the excavation site, which suggest Thutmose II’s tomb is nearby. (Andrzej Niwiński / Warsaw University’s Institute of Archaeology )

The stone chest contained several surprising items, all carefully wrapped in linen canvas. In total there were three bundles of linen. In one was the skeleton of a goose, that had been almost certainly sacrificed for religious purposes. A second one contained what appears to have been the egg of the goose. In the last bundle, what is believed to be, an ibis egg was found. The ibis is a bird that had immense symbolic meaning for the ancient Egyptians.

Box with the Pharaoh’s Name

Then the Polish archaeologists found a bundle of linen canvas next to the stone casket. Inside the bundle was a small wooden trinket box, which was in the shape of an ancient Egyptian mortuary chapel. The First News reports that the casket “contains the name of Pharaoh Thutmose II.”

The wooden chest found at the excavation site, which has revealed clues to the location of Thutmose II’s tomb. (Andrzej Niwiński / Warsaw University’s Institute of Archaeology)

The wooden chest found at the excavation site, which has revealed clues to the location of Thutmose II’s tomb. (Andrzej Niwiński / Warsaw University’s Institute of Archaeology )

The name of the pharaoh and the nature of the objects that were uncovered astonished the archaeologists. They all indicated that the box was connected with royalty. The symbolism of the items found also indicate that it was a royal deposit associated with Thutmose II. Prof Niwiński told Medical News that “the royal deposit indicates a temple or a tomb was being raised in the pharaoh’s name.”

The Daily Express quotes the professor as saying that “because we are in the middle of the royal cemetery, then it most definitely would have been a tomb.” The boxes indicate that at some time Thutmose was buried in the cemetery. The location of tomb of the king has been lost for millennia.

Relief of Thutmose II in Karnak Temple complex, Egypt. (Public domain)

Relief of Thutmose II in Karnak Temple complex, Egypt. ( Public domain )

Pharaohs Thutmose II and Hatshepsut

Thutmose II was only pharaoh for three years (1476-1479 BC). He died when he was only 16 and he married his sister Hatshepsut, which was the custom among Egyptian royals. These marriages were the result of political and dynastic necessity. It appears that his sister completely dominated the young monarch and he never really ruled. Hatshepsut went on to become one of  Egypt’s first female pharaohs to rule alone and is widely regarded as a great and powerful ruler.

The team immediately began to look for the tomb of the young king. The boxes and their contents have persuaded them that the burial place of Thutmose II is not far away. The archaeologists found the boxes in March 2019 and have been searching for the burial site since October 2019.

The Daily Express reports that the leader of the expedition believes that they are “very close” to finding the burial of Thutmose II. This would be a dramatic and historic discovery as most royal burials were looted in antiquity. The last untouched and intact tomb found was that of the boy-king Tutankhamun, which was filled with a treasure trove.

Top Image: Several packages wrapped in linen canvas (top left and bottom right) were found inside the chest. One package contained a wooden box (bottom left and top right), which is evidence that Thutmose II’s lost tomb is nearby.        Source: Andrzej Niwiński / Warsaw University’s Institute of Archaeology

By Ed Whelan

Comments

Gary Manners's picture

 The article refers to a ‘third bundle’. That is the box with what’s probably an ibis’ egg inside.

Gary

Davis Steelquist's picture

The article alludes to ther being contents in the wooden box, yet they are not described.. oversight  or misinterpretation?

would have liked to see inside the box

samartinjr's picture

I think the information on Thutmosis is inaccurate. Thutmosis IIs' mummy is clearly beyond teen age. Ahmose had Hatshepsut marry her half brother, since Ahmose (the primary queen) never had a son. Ahmose apparently adopted a son (referred to as Senenmut, or Nefurure's mother's brother) who refused to be called by his Egyptian name, and therefore wouldn't be made king. Ahmose resorted to marrying Hatshepsut to her half brother, in order for Ahmose to remain in the Royal line after her husband, Thutmosis I, died.

Stephen A. Martin Jr.

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