Dating from roughly the time of the Exodus, a tomb located near King Tut's was opened Friday:
The discovery of the tomb, a rectangular chamber cut from the rock, was announced this week by Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
The tomb contains five mummies from the 18th dynasty era (about 1567 B.C. to 1320 B.C.) in wooden sarcophagi with lids carved in human shapes and colored funerary masks. It also contains 20 sealed clay storage jars used for offerings and as vessels for beer, Mansour Bouriak, director of Luxor monuments, said in a telephone interview from Luxor.
"This cache is important because it will tell us what the Valley of the Kings was really like," Mr. Bouriak said. "It also proves that the Valley of the Kings is not exhausted. It has a lot to offer to us just waiting to be discovered."
The Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile, holds numerous Pharaonic tombs, but no intact tombs had been discovered since Howard Carter, a British Egyptologist, opened King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922.
"I believe the most important and interesting fact about this discovery is that it came after 80 years," said Dr. Salima Ikram, former professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo.
The tomb was discovered 16 feet from the tomb of King Tutankhamen, who reigned during the 18th dynasty, a time in which Ancient Egypt's power peaked. Thebes, now known as Luxor, was the capital.
Mr. Bouriak said that although the archaeologists had not entered the tomb, they had observed its contents through a 5 by 6 foot vertical shaft.
"One thing we are sure of, those mummies are not royal," Mr. Bouriak said. Royal sarcophagi carry certain signs and epitaphs and more, he said.
Ah, yes. There's so much still out there.