By Ian Pannell
BBC Middle East correspondent
Archaeologists in Egypt say that a chamber unearthed last month in the Valley of the Kings is not a tomb, as was first thought.
The sarcophagi did not contain mummies
Instead, it appears the room was used by the ancient Egyptians for mummifying pharaohs.
The chamber was discovered in the Valley of the Kings by a team from the University of Memphis, US.
It contained seven wooden coffins and a number of sealed jars.
The find dates from the 18th Pharaonic Dynasty, the first of the New Kingdom which ruled between 1539BC and 1292BC and made its capital in Thebes, now Luxor.
Room for mummification
Last month, Egypt's head of antiquities, Zahi Hawass, speculated that the coffins belonged "to royals or nobles" moved from "original graves to protect them from grave robbers".
But further examination has revealed that the area was in fact an embalmers workshop.
Five coffins contained remnants of pottery, shrouds and materials used in mummification.
The sealed jars held other materials used in the embalming process.
Now, Dr Hawass has issued a brief statement saying "this... is not a tomb for nobles or relatives of a king, as had been thought upon its discovery, but rather a room for mummification".
Dr Salima Ikram, associate professor at the American University in Cairo, who was also part of the archaeological mission, denies this is an embarrassment for the Council of Antiquities.
She told the BBC that the site still remained something of a mystery and represented an historic and important find.
"In terms of what it tells us, it provides important information about funerary rites and rituals," she said.
"But it is still a mystery as to who this belongs to, and it could lead to other discoveries in the valley."
Archaeologists have more work to do on the site. Out of seven coffins, two may still contain mummified remains.
Despite the advance of science, discoveries like this were often a variable combination of luck and serendipity, Dr Ikram said.
"It is like shaking a wrapped Christmas present and trying to guess what is inside".