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Egyptian site may contain treasure that rivals Tutankhamun's

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A British archaeologist has claimed that an ancient Egyptian burial ground contains relics that could outshine even those found in Tutankhamun's tomb.

John Romer, 72, said he believes cliffs on Luxor's west bank contain the burial site of three priest kings: Herihor, Piankh and Menkheperre.

He claims to have evidence that burial treasures stripped from the nearby Valley of the Kings were also placed here for safekeeping.

The only person known to have excavated at the site, the Wadi el-Gharbi, is Howard Carter, who in 1922 first scratched a hole through the sealed doorway of Tutankhamun's burial chamber.

Carter excavated at the site for only two weeks in 1916, and with a dozen workmen cut trenches across the valley floor, 'The Sunday Times' reported.

He discovered huge mounds of limestone chippings on the wadi floor, identical to those left from the excavations of royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

Carter gave up on his excavations, possibly because he had little idea of the tomb's historical potential.

Romer concentrated on unravelling the clues left behind by the royal workmen who laboured there.

Romer and his colleague, Alex Peden, an expert in epigraphy, have found the name of Herihor among 150 rock inscriptions written by a small group of 20th dynasty scribes who were in charge of reorganising royal burials.

Romer is convinced that Carter was mistaken to search on the valley floor, and said he knows where to look among the limestone rocks, which soar to around 1,000ft.

"Herihor is most likely to be buried in a coffin of gold, like Tutankhamun [250 years before]. There are likely to be canopic chests, objects of alabaster, gold-plated statues, and thrones, though possibly not chariots," he said.

While Romer has yet to secure a permit from Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities to carry out his search, a rival expedition - like his under the official sponsorship of University College London - has already been out to the area.

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First Published: Sun, March 30 2014. 14:21 IST