North of present-day Luxor, a team of Egyptian explorers have found a sand-covered industrial city some 3,400 years old. It is believed that the settlement was part of Thebes, and its inhabitants were engaged in the production of furniture, ceramics, decorative ornaments, and other items.
Hieroglyphic inscriptions on the clay caps of vessels found during excavations indicate the reign of the 18th dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III (1386–1353 BC), whose rule is considered as a flourishing period for the state. Amenhotep III was buried in the Valley of the Kings, and there are more statues with his image than of any other ruler. His son, Pharaoh Akhenaten, is known for abandoning polytheism in order to worship the only god Aton and transferring the capital from Thebes to the city of Amarna.
A few months ago, archaeologists led by Zahi Hawass began excavations between the temple of Ramses III in Medinet Abu and the temple of Amenhotep III at Memnon. The expedition discovered zig-zag walls of mud bricks up to nine feet high, a bakery, and clay brick production areas. In addition, many artifacts were found: rings, scarab figures, ceramic vessels, fragments of statues, and tools for handicraft production. Scientists hope that this discovery will help find an answer to the question of why Akhenaten decided to leave Thebes.