US News
October 11, 2017

Can a Middle Kingdom nobleman named Userhat help save Egypt’s tourism industry?

LUXOR, Egypt — Egypt’s crucial tourism industry has been rocked by political instability and terrorism concerns, but help has arrived from a venerable source.

A series of stunning archaeological discoveries from the days of Egypt’s ancient glory are giving hope to those who depend on foreign visitors to make a living.

This year alone, archaeologists in Luxor unearthed dozens of statues depicting a lion-headed warrior goddess at the temple of Amenhotep III, found evidence of a 4,000-year-old royal botanic garden treasured by Middle Kingdom rulers and revealed a tomb dedicated to an 18th Egyptian dynasty nobleman named Userhat.

Khaled El-Enany, minister of antiquities, announced last month the discovery of the burial place of a New Kingdom goldsmith just several feet away from Userhat’s crypt.

“It is an important discovery that sheds light on the necropolis’ history and promotes tourism to Egypt,” Mr. El-Enany said at an event at the tomb, declaring 2018 would be Egypt’s “Year of Discovery.”

Knowing the goldsmith’s name was a boon to Egyptologists and provided a human connection with the metalworker for tourists, said Ahmed Seddik, a Cairo-based tour guide often tapped to organize foreign officials and television celebrities’ tours of ancient sites.