The rare find was made accidentally by a team from Switzerland’s Basel University headed by Elena Pauline-Grothe and Susanne Bickel in Karnak, near Luxor in Upper Egypt, the Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said on Sunday.
The woman, Nehmes Bastet, was a singer for the supreme deity Amon Ra during the Twenty-Second Dynasty (945-712 BC), according to an inscription on a wooden plaque found in the tomb. The discovery is important because “it shows that the Valley of the Kings was also used for the burial of ordinary individuals and priests of the Twenty-Second Dynasty,” he added.
The coffin was opened on Monday and Bickel told the BBC that she saw the “nicely wrapped” mummy of the woman who was buried in the tomb. Bickel said that the upper edge of the tomb was discovered on the first day of the Egyptian revolution on Jan 25, 2011. The discovery was then kept secret and an iron cover was placed over the opening to the tomb. Last week, as this year’s field season began, the tomb was identified as one of the few tombs in the Valley of the Kings that wasn’t looted during the recent unrest. Until now the only tombs found in the historic valley were those linked to ancient Egyptian royal families.