History Files



Ancient Egypt

Ancient Garland in Tomb

BBC News, 29 June 2006

Archaeologists in Egypt expecting to find a mummy during their excavation of a burial chamber in Luxor have instead discovered a garland of flowers.

The 3,000-year-old garland is the first to be discovered.

It was found in the last of seven coffins which archaeologists had hoped would contain the mummies of royal queens or even Tutankhamun's mother.

Researchers and media had been invited into the chamber, near Tutankhamun's tomb, to watch the coffin's opening.

The chief curator of Cairo's Egyptian Museum said the surprise find was "even better" than discovering a mummy.

"I prayed to find a mummy, but when I saw this, I said it's better - it's really beautiful," said Nadia Lokma.

"It's very rare - there's nothing like it in any museum. We've seen things like it in drawings, but we've never seen this before in real life - it's magnificent," she said.

Experts say ancient Egyptian royals often wore garlands entwined with gold strips around their shoulders in both life and death.

The burial chamber was the first to be discovered in the Valley of the Kings since Tutankhamun's tomb more than eighty years ago and was found by chance.

It is the 63rd tomb to be discovered since the valley was first mapped in the eighteenth century, and was unexpectedly found only five metres away from Tutankhamun's tomb (who reigned between 1333-1324 BC).

However, the chamber's discovery did disprove the widely accepted belief that there were no tombs left to find in the Valley of the Kings.

The Valley of the Kings, near the city of Luxor in southern Egypt, was used for burials for around 500 years from 1540 BC onwards.

Map of the Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings in Egypt



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