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
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
The Valley of the Kings in Egypt