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Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a previously unknown tomb and several artifacts. Source: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Industrial Zone Found In Luxor’s Valley of the Monkeys


Archaeologists in Egypt have made two remarkable discoveries at the Valley of the Monkeys in Luxor. They have found evidence of industrial areas or zones, where workers lived and worked. Then they unearthed a tomb, which appears to have once contained a royal burial. These finds are expected to allow us to have a better understanding not only of how royalty was buried but also the working lives of ordinary ancient Egyptians.

The discoveries were made during a major expedition led by the well-known Egyptologists Zahi Hawass, in Luxor. Hawass made the announcement at a press conference attended by the Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany. According to Ahramonline, the discoveries were made “in the West Valley, also known as the Valley of the Monkeys, and the other was in the East Valley”. The industrial remains were mainly found in the Valley of the Monkeys, where a team from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has been working since 2017.

Artisan restores artifacts found at the site. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

Ancient Egyptian Industrial Zones

The industrial zones are the first of their kind found at Luxor. One in the West Valley consists of a deep cutting made into the rock. According to See.egy this is “fronted by an oven that once used for clay and pottery burning”. Adjacent to the oven was a water tank, presumably for the workers and possibly also used in the manufacturing process.

Tomb artifacts of pottery were unearthed. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

In the general area, they also unearthed a treasure trove of artifacts. These included a scarab ring, items beads, some tiny golden pieces and some inlays known as Horus Wings. The Ministry of Antiquities statement said the items were used ‘in the decorating of wooden coffins’. It appears that they had found a workshop that had made coffins.

One of the tomb artifacts unearthed was a scarab ring. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

Furniture for the Dead

Also uncovered in the Western Valley was evidence for the production of furniture. The team led by Hawass found some 30 workshops and they include buildings ‘for the cleaning of the funerary furniture’ according to Ahramonline.

Also found was some pottery. Typically, Egyptian royal tombs had funerary furniture which was believed to be essential for the deceased in the afterlife. It seems that these workshops were used to construct the furniture that was deposited in the vaults.

Royal Tomb Discovered

In the Western Valley was also found a royal tomb. This has been named KV 65. In the burial place was found a number of tools that were left behind by workmen. Hawass stated that the finds are “the tools that the ancient Egyptians used to construct a royal tomb”.

More investigations are continuing at the site to learn more about who was buried here and the date. Some hieroglyphs were also found here.

Images were discovered amongst the artifacts. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

The digs in the East Valley are the first since the 1920s when Howard Carter and his team found the spectacular tomb of King Tutankhamun. It is believed that there are several undiscovered tombs from the 18th dynasty. The team had been looking for the burials of the famous Queen Nefertiti, the wife of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten, and that of her daughter who was married to King Tutankhamun.

Some argue that queens and princesses may be buried in the area. This is because the 18th dynasty began the practice of burying female members of the royal family in Luxor. There are also hopes that some Ramesside pharaohs tombs could also be uncovered.

Workers’ Huts Unearthed

The experts worked near the tomb of King Tutankhamun and found some important artifacts. According to See.egy news they also found “42 small labor huts” near the tomb.

They presumably belonged to those who built the king’s final resting place. In the huts, it is believed that the workmen would store their tools when they went to the nearby city.

Ancient workers’ labor huts were discovered. (Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities)

The finds are demonstrating that Luxor still has many archaeological treasures to be discovered, despite after nearly a century of digging. They have also revealed much more about the history of the area.

It was not just a necropolis but also a busy industrial area, as workers built and maintained royal tombs. There are great expectations that more burial and treasures will be found.

Top image: Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed a previously unknown tomb and several artifacts. Source: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

By Ed Whelan

Ed Whelan's picture


My name is Edward Whelan and I graduated with a PhD in history in 2008. Between 2010-2012 I worked in the Limerick City Archives. I have written a book and several peer reviewed journal articles. At present I am a... Read More

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