The tomb of Thutmose I, who lived around 1500 BCE, was thought to have been lost to history. But archaeologists have now found remains of the tomb in Luxor, Egypt, at the site of the ancient city of Thebes.
Thutmose I was the third pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt, and his tomb was built on a spectacular scale. Despite this, it has remained hidden throughout more than a century of investigation of the region.
Now archaeologists think that parts of the tomb have been discovered. They had been incorrectly identified previously as the temple of another dignitary from the reign of Hatshepsut, the fifth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty.
Reassessment of the remains by Jadwiga Iwaszczuk, an Egyptologist of the Polish Academy of Sciences, led to the discovery of their origin.
"It turned out that all of the discovered fragments came from the temple of Thutmose I," Iwaszczuk told the Polish Press Agency.
"The location of the temple – in the vicinity of the temple Thutmose of Thutmose III – had been known for more than half a century. Until now researchers misidentified it."
The fragments were preserved in Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities. They are carved from both limestone and sandstone, which is unusual for this period. They consist of many thousands of stone blocks, which have been painstakingly sketched and photographed by Iwaszczuk and her colleagues.
The engravings include one of the earliest battle scenes with chariots found to date from Ancient Egypt.
The tomb was used as a temple for the worship of Thutmose I for several hundred years, the excavations suggest. The site was renovated at least once, showing followers were dedicated to the upkeep of the sacred site.
"It reached a sad end: like many other Theban temples, it served as a quarry for the material for stone bowls," said Iwaszczuk.
"Only unused post-production waste was left, including the fragmented decorative reliefs, which today we use to try to recreate the full shape of the temple."