Egypt on Saturday announced the discovery of an ancient tomb in its southern city of Luxor that dates back 3,500 years and which archaeologists say may hold the remains of royalty.
The tomb was unearthed by a joint Egyptian-British team in the desert on the west bank of the Nile, according to Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The area contains the world-famous Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, home to the tombs of some of ancient Egypt’s best known pharaohs, such as King Tutankhamun.
"The first elements discovered so far inside the tomb seem to indicate that it dates back to the 18th dynasty" of pharaohs Akhenaton and Tutankhamun, Mr Waziri said.
The 18th Dynasty lasted from 1,550 BC to 1,292 BC. That period is considered among the most prosperous years of ancient Egypt.
Mohsen Kamel, the Egyptian archaeologist in charge of Luxor’s west bank, said the tomb was in poor condition as a result of ancient floods that filled its burial chambers with limestone sediment and sand.
Egypt has unveiled several major archaeological discoveries in recent years, mostly in the Saqqara necropolis south-west of the capital Cairo.
The discoveries and the intense publicity surrounding them have been a key part of Egypt's campaign to bolster its vital tourism industry, which accounts for more than 10 per cent of its GDP and employs millions.
The sector has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.
The long-delayed and much-anticipated inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum, near the famed Giza Pyramids, is tentatively scheduled for May.
The opening, expected to be marked by an extravagant celebration to which world leaders would be invited, is expected to boost tourism revenues at a time when Egypt is enduring one of its worst economic crises in living memory.