An undisturbed elite tomb discovered in ancient Armageddon is replete with gold offerings—and the promise of unlocking secrets with DNA analysis.

The extraordinary discovery of a magnificent and untouched 3,600-year-old burial chamber in the ancient Canaanite city-state of Megiddo has stunned archaeologists, not only for the array of wealth found in the tomb, but also for the potential insight it may provide into the royal dynasty that ruled this powerful center before its conquest by Egypt in the early 15th century B.C.

Located 19 miles south of Haifa, in what is today northern Israel, the ancient site of Megiddo dominated a strategic pass on major international military and trade routes for nearly five millennia, from 3000 B.C. to 1918. Overlooking the Jezreel Valley, the site has witnessed numerous decisive battles that have altered the course of history, earning it the figurative name of Armageddon (from Har-Megiddo, or 'Hill of Megiddo') first coined in the Book of Revelation.

In the earliest recorded battle in the history of the Ancient Near East, at Megiddo, the forces of Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III besieged the fortified city in the first half of the 15th century B.C. After a seven-month long siege, the city surrendered and yielded to the pharaoh, who incorporated Canaan as a province into his empire.