Jim McMahon/Mapman®

Archaeologists recently unearthed the largest ancient city ever found in Egypt. The Rise of Aten, as the city is known, dates back 3,400 years. Experts are calling it the most important archaeological find since the discovery of the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamen (too-tong-KAH-mun), also known as King Tut, in 1922.

The sprawling city was founded by Tut’s grandfather, who ruled Egypt from 1391 B.C. to 1353 B.C. But it was suddenly abandoned during the reign of Tut’s father. The city was used later by other pharaohs, including Tut. 

Experts had long searched for the Rise of Aten, says Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass. Researchers ended up uncovering its ruins by accident while searching for one of Tut’s temples near Luxor, a city along the Nile River.  

So far, archaeologists have unearthed the remains of homes, a large bakery, and a business area in the city. They have also found signs of fabric, metal, and glass making—as well as bricks bearing the seals of Tut’s grandfather. 

The Rise of Aten has “laid untouched for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday,” Hawass says. Researchers predict that its remains (which could include untouched tombs) will offer new clues about daily life when the ancient Egyptian empire was at its wealthiest. They might also help explain the sudden departure of King Tut’s father, some experts say.