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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Ancient garland in Egyptian tomb
Sarcophagi and Pharaonic jars discovered in a new tomb discovered in Egypt's Valley of the Kings
The tomb was discovered by chance

Archaeologists in Egypt expecting to find a mummy during their excavation of a burial chamber in Luxor have instead discovered a garland of flowers.

The 3,000-year-old garland is the first to be discovered.

It was found in the last of seven coffins which archaeologists had hoped would contain the mummies of royal queens or even Tutankhamun's mother.

Researchers and media had been invited into the chamber, near Tutankhamun's tomb, to watch the coffin's opening.

The chief curator of Cairo's Egyptian Museum said the surprise find was "even better" than discovering a mummy.

"I prayed to find a mummy, but when I saw this, I said it's better - it's really beautiful," said Nadia Lokma.

"It's very rare - there's nothing like it in any museum. We've seen things like it in drawings, but we've never seen this before in real life - it's magnificent," she said.

Experts say ancient Egyptian royals often wore garlands entwined with gold strips around their shoulders in both life and death.

The burial chamber was the first to be discovered in the Valley of the Kings since Tutankhamun's tomb more than 80 years ago and was found by chance.

It is the 63rd tomb to be discovered since the valley was first mapped in the 18th century, and was unexpectedly found only five metres away from King Tutankhamun's.

However, the chamber's discovery did disprove the widely accepted belief that there were no tombs left to find in the Valley of the Kings.

The Valley of the Kings, near the city of Luxor in southern Egypt, was used for burials for around 500 years from 1540BC onwards.





SEE ALSO
King Tut's tipple 'was red wine'
26 Oct 05 |  Middle East
Face of Tutankhamun reconstructed
10 May 05 |  Middle East
King Tut 'died from broken leg'
08 Mar 05 |  Science/Nature
Egypt's 'Ramses' mummy returned
26 Oct 03 |  Middle East
Nefertiti mummy 'found in Egypt'
10 Jun 03 |  Middle East
Science lifts 'mummy's curse'
20 Dec 02 |  Health
Pharaoh puzzle persists
17 Sep 02 |  Middle East

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