Archaeologists in Egypt who were expecting to find
a mummy during their excavation of a burial chamber in Luxor instead
discovered a garland of flowers.
The 3,000-year-old garland was 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.
Nadia Lokma, chief curator of Cairo's Egyptian Museum, said the
surprise find was 'even better' than discovering a mummy. The
discovery was certainly very rare. There was seemingly nothing like
it in any museum, in drawings yes, but Ms Lokma had never seen
this before in real life. She found it to be magnificent.
Experts said that ancient Egyptian royals often
wore garlands entwined with gold strips around their shoulders both
in life and in death. The burial chamber was the first to be discovered
in the Valley of the Kings since Tutankhamun's tomb more than eighty
years before, and it was found by chance.
It was the sixty-third 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
(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, near the city of Luxor in southern
Egypt, was used for burials for around five hundred years from 1540
A schematic of the Valley of the Kings in southern Egypt, close
to the ancient city of Luxor, with the approximate location of
the newly-discovered tomb shown top right