Swiss and Egyptian archeologists have found a large number of mummies hidden in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The team was able to unearth around 50 mummies of royal descent, including a number of newborn babies.
Experts who inspected the site say that the remains belonged to Egyptian royalty and included the mummified remains of princes and princesses. The find was especially significant because the tomb contained the remains of a number of unknown daughters of famous pharaohs.
The team also found a cursive type of hieroglyphic text inscribed on the tomb that held clues to the family history of the mummies. The inscriptions found in the tomb indicated that the mummies were related to the pharaohs Amenhotep III and Thutmose IV. This dates the remains to a period of time during the 14th century BC. During this period of time known as the New Kingdom, the remains of Egyptian royalty were often buried in the famous Valley of the Kings near the Nile River. The valley is located on the side of the Nile River opposite Luxor. Some of Egypt's most famous and well preserved mummies were found in the vicinity of the Valley of the Kings.
The tomb where the new group of mummies was found is known as KV 40. Archeologists were only able to study this tomb fairly recently. Seen from ground level, the tomb's entrance was fairly unimpressive. Upon further excavation however, the archeologists working on the site discovered a shaft that was approximately 16 feet in depth. The team also found four rooms in the tomb. While ecstatic about the significant find, the archeologists were also dismayed to see evidence that the tomb was pillaged sometime in the past.
The tomb is estimated to be around 3,300 years old. Due to the lineage of its occupants, the tomb likely contained numerous gold items in the past. However, tomb raiders ransacked the tomb taking anything of value in the process. The scientists also found evidence of a large fire, which was likely started by tomb raiders who pillaged the tomb sometime in the late 19th century.
Many of the adult mummies found by the archeologists in KV 40 were torn to pieces. This event likely happened when the tomb was pillaged. Fortunately, many of the mummified infant remains were in relatively better condition since they were stored in one of the underground rooms. While the mummified remains of the newborns were buried in a simple manner, experts confirmed that they were mummified properly in accordance with ancient Egyptian practices.
The discovery was made by archeologists from the University of Basel in Switzerland with the help of Egyptian authorities from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.