Washington, April 18 : Archaeologists have discovered that the tomb of pharaoh Seti I, which is the largest tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, is bigger than originally believed.
Giovanni Battista Belzoni, who discovered the tomb in 1817, had noted the tomb at 328 feet (100 meters).
But, according to a report in National Geographic News, the Egyptian archaeological team found during a recent excavation that the crypt is actually 446 feet (136 meters) in length.
"This is the largest tomb and this is longest tunnel that's ever found in any place in the Valley of the Kings," said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). "And we still did not find its end until now," he added.
The tomb of Seti I, who ruled Egypt from 1313 to 1292 B.C. at the apex of its artistic accomplishments, is impressive not only for its size but also for the breadth of art on its walls, according to experts.
But its size could be expanded even farther by future expeditions.
"The ancient Egyptians never built something without a plan, without an aim or a target to do this, so I think this tunnel [in the tomb of Seti I will lead to something important," said Mansour Boraik, director of Luxor Antiquities.
Archaeologists also found clay vessels, fragments of the tomb's painted wall reliefs, and a quartzite ushabti figure-a funerary statue-during their search for artifacts and efforts to clear debris.
According to archaeologist W. Raymond Johnson, director of the Epigraphic Survey of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, these objects could have washed into the tunnel during floods starting from the 21st dynasty, between 1090 and 945 B.C.
The excavation is the first discovery by an all-Egyptian archaeological team in the Valley of Kings.