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Uncovering EgyptFrom the boy-king's glitzy tomb to the Rosetta stone, which was written by a council of priests, to the pyramids at Giza, to papyri holding gospels and magical spells, Egypt holds a vast and mysterious trove of history with interesting stories to tell. Archaeologists continue to discover these ancient sites and artifacts. Here, Live Science takes a look at seven of the most amazing finds from Egypt.
King Tut's tombSlide 2 of 15
King Tut's tomb
The tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt's Valley of the Kings is, arguably, the most famous archaeological discovery ever made. Unearthed in 1922 by a team led by Howard Carter, the tomb was filled with fantastic treasures, including Tutankhamun's death mask, which today is practically an icon.
Carter entered the tomb on Nov. 26, 1922: "As one's eyes became accustomed to the glimmer of light, the interior of the chamber gradually loomed before one, with its strange and wonderful medley of extraordinary and beautiful objects heaped upon one another," he wrote in his diary as he struggled to describe the wonders he saw that day.
The boy king, as Tutankhamun is sometimes called, died in his teens. Analysis of his remains suggests that he suffered from a variety of health problemsand used a cane to walk around. He spent much of his rule (ca. 1332 B.C - 1323 B.C.) trying to restore Egypt's traditional polytheistic religion, something that had been interrupted when his father, the pharaoh Akhenaten, started a revolution that emphasized the primacy of the Aten, the sun-disc.
When Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered, it sparked a media frenzy and a rumor that opening the tomb had unleashed a curse.Slide 3 of 15
Rosetta StoneSlide 4 of 15
Rosetta StoneDating to 196 B.C., the Rosetta Stone holds a decree written by a council of priests that affirms the right of pharaoh Ptolemy V (who was 13 years old at the time) to rule Egypt.
What makes the Rosetta Stone remarkable is that the decree was written in three languages: hieroglyphic, Demotic and Greek. When the stone was discovered in 1799, only the Greek language was known, but because the Greek inscription communicated the same decree as the other two languages, it helped scientists decipher those tongues. This allowed for texts written in hieroglyphic and Demotic to be read.
A scientific team that was accompanying a military expedition led by Napoleon found the stone in 1799. The British later captured the stone, which is now in the British Museum. The Egyptians have asked Britain to return the stone to Egypt.Slide 5 of 15
Oxyrhynchus PapyriSlide 6 of 15
Between 1896 and 1907, archaeologists Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt discovered over 500,000 papyri fragments, dating back around 1,800 years. The investigators found the fragments in the ruins of Oxyrhynchus, a sizable ancient town in southern Egypt that flourished at a time when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt. The town's arid conditions meant that the papyri used by residents survived nearly 2 millennia.
Today, the United Kingdom's Egypt Exploration Society (which sponsored the Grenfell and Hunt expeditions) owns many of the papyri, keeping them at the University of Oxford. Scholars have been analyzing and translating the papyri ever since the fragments were discovered, but the sheer number of texts means that many are still unpublished.Slide 7 of 15
Pyramid town at GizaSlide 8 of 15