If Tutankhamun jumped into the world’s imagination after the discovery of his tomb in 1923, it is likely that, if this discovery turns out to be as fundamental as expected, from now on the name of his grandfather Amenhotep III will sound more familiar to us. Or that is what at least the Egyptian authorities seem to want, who have already determined that the ‘lost city’ of Luxor is the greatest discovery in the country after Howard Carter made.
The truth is that, with or without popularity, Amenhotep III (or Amenophis III) was an important pharaoh. He was the ninth monarch of the 18th dynasty, his queen consort was Tiy with whom he had his successor Tuntakamón and reigned for about forty years, between 1390 and 1353 BC His mummy and that of his wife were two of the 22 kings and queens of Egypt that paraded through the streets of Cairo just a week ago.
“He reigned for many years and during his time the Egyptian civilization became very sophisticated , in Tebas lavish banquets were held, with musicians, etc.”, assures the Spanish Egyptologist José Manuel Galán, research professor at the Center for Human and Social Sciences of the CSIC and Director of the Djehuty Project.
Statue of Amenhotep III and the god Sobek, from the temple of Sobek, in DahamshaenStatue of Amenhotep III and the god Sobek, from the temple of Sobek, in DahamshaenLUXOR MUSEUM
“He is a prominent character in history because during his reign he was at the peak of his political importance in the East, he was a true world power,” says also Egyptologist José Miguel Parra.
The international relations of his reign are highly studied thanks to the letters that he and his wife sent to each other with the courts of the time, with Hittites, Assyrians, etc. “That correspondence was preserved in Amarna, the capital of his successor,” explains Galán. “Those letters leave you speechless: doctors and carpenters were exchanged, marriages were agreed …”
Mysteries and doubts to be solved
Historians are often cautious when predicting finds and, in this case, more findings are expected in relation to the economic and social life of ancient Egyptian cities. But the truth is that the discovery of this industrial settlement linked to the court of Amenhotep III could reveal many unknowns about his reign.
Remains found in the lost city of LuxorRemains found in the lost city of LuxorZahi Hawass Center For Egyptolog / EP
For example, the existing debate between the specialists of if Akhenaten, with the name of Amenhotep IV, was co-regent with his father during the last years of reign. Or why and when did Akhenaten decide to leave this city and head for Amarna. Or the situation of the religious conflict with the priests of Amun, which he already felt in his reign, and which he would explode with his son Akhenaten.