Ancient Egyptian Tomb of Pregnant Singer Discovered at Temple of Goddess Near King Solomon's Mines

The Timna Valley in Israel on December 28, 2013. Researchers have found the remains of a pregnant woman. Sarah Murray

Researchers have unearthed the remains of a pregnant ancient Egyptian woman who they believe may have been a singer at a nearby temple around 3,200 years ago.

The skeleton was discovered in the Timna Valley in Israel, according to LiveScience, at a location once known as King Solomon's Mines. During her lifetime, the mines were under Egyptian rule.

Erez Ben-Yosef, a senior lecturer in archaeology at Tel Aviv University, told LiveScience that she might have been a singer at Hathor temple because she was buried with beads similar to those found at the place of worship.

The woman was in the early stages of her 20s and was in her first trimester, according to the findings.

She was likely brought along on a copper-mining mission to the Timna area. The temple where she likely worked hosted rituals that, miners believed, protected them from harm during their work.

But, Ben-Yosef said, it is not clear whether the woman was pregnant already before she made the journey from Egypt, or became pregnant once she arrived at Timna.

"Probably she wouldn't have traveled if she knew she was pregnant," Ben-Yosef said, "but this is only a guess."

There is wider research in progress aimed at developing a better understanding of the Timna Valley.

Researchers have also discovered the remnants of meals from a metalworkers' camp nearby, which imply that, a millennium before Christ, the workers consumed sheep and goat meat alongside pistachios, grapes and fish.

And what was described by LiveScience as a "sophisticated" gatehouse fortification has also been unearthed. It is likely that the settlement "had a highly organized defense system and depended on an impressive network of long-distance trade," according to a report.