According to Bryan, the city was Amenhotep III's love letter to the god Aten.
"When ancient Egyptian kings built, they would dedicate their construction to a deity and associate themselves with that deity," she said.
Aten was depicted as a sun disc. Archaeologists typically associated the deity with Amenhotep III's son, Akhenaten, who worshipped Aten instead of the chief Egyptian god of the sun and air, Amon.
This discovery shows that Amenhotep III believed in Aten too, Hawass said — which explains why the Pharoah named the city "tehn Aten," meaning the dazzling Aten.