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Exploration, Archaeology, FF Sparks (Archaeologist)

[Archaeology] New Pharaonic Tomb Found

Okay, as some of you know, I was an archaeology major. When I was a little kid, I thought of archaeology as like the Indiana Jones films. As I got older, I realized it wasn't... but then I became fascinated with /real/ archaeology. I still have a much-battered copy of 'Five Years' Exploration at Thebes,' the 1912 journal of the expedition Howard Carter undertook under the patronage of Lord Carnarvon. (And one of my all-time favorite used-bookstore finds.) I have a copy of Carter's book about the discovery of Tut-Ankh-Amun's tomb in 1922, as well.

Though I eventually strayed from that path, I'm still a member of the Archaeology Institute of America. I still receive Archaeology, the only magazine I will sit down and read in a single sitting when it arrives. I still can quite happily vanish into the U Penn Museum of Archaeology for /hours/ whenever in Philly.

So, suffice it to say, I still have quite an avid interest in archaeology.

That's why the discovery of a new 18th Dynasty tomb only five meters from that of Tut-Ankh-Amun really excites me.

Not only the fact that this is the first intact, unplundered tomb to be found since Carter stumbled into Tut-Ankh-Amun's burial chamber in 1922, but the questions this tomb raises. In particular, the peculiarities of the burial -- the obvious haste and small, almost hidden size of the tomb, but also the obvious quality of the things there, and the Pharaonic seals -- make me wonder if there's a story behind this one.

Admittedly, it could be as simple as Hawass' theory that they were moved from a grander tomb to protect them from grave robbers. But I suppose the part of me that avidly watched Indiana Jones, the part that devoured every word of Carter's journals from Thebes and the Valley... that part wants to think there's something more. A drama, a betrayal, another of those bits of drama and intrigue which bring a tiny bit of the ancient world alive for us.


I saw that story, yeah! Pretty cool!

Though I have to admit that it was less the Indiana Jones fan in me and more the Elizabeth Peters fan that went "squee" at the idea of new tombs--since the Valley of the Kings is a much-visited place all throughout the Amelia Peabody novels. :D
W00t! Tut, and Egypt in general, have been a minor area of interest for me ever since my 5th grade teacher went to Egypt herself and toured the area... that and Dame Agatha Christie's husband was an Egyptologist, and since Mother is a big Christie fan, it sort of spilled over....

Mother will be interested to hear this. Thanks!
I have a question for you. Since I work at a museum where we -have- a mummy, we get a lot.. lot, lot of questions asked of us from a lot of different perspectives. The one that most often arises, beleive it or not, is... why do we beleive its okay to dig up another culture's heritage and history but not our own?

We had a discussion about it one day during staff training, just because that question comes up a lot.. people always say, we'd be so upset if someone went to one of our cemetaries and started digging up people! Why is it different that we do it to the egyptians? Is it really right to have this mummy on display?

So.. I want to know what you think about that. How we -do- find these burial chambers and then open them and stuff. I'm not saying I think its wrong, I'd just like to hear another person's perspective since I have to talk to people about it on a weekly basis and I -don't- have strong feelings on way or the other, and you might. :)
You could point out to them that there are archaeologists who dig up the remains of our own culture as well. :)

My archaeology professor is one. Part of his studies involve examining mauseleums (sp) to find out who is /really/ buried in them, if the bone remains in the reliquaries match records for how many individuals are supposed to be in there, if there are tidbits that were placed with the bodies that might lead to new information about the time periods in which they were entombed... it's just much less spectacular than something like Tut's tomb or this new one.

And there's an exhibit in NYC right now of preserved bodies (http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/) both for art and for anatomy. (If you're squeamish, you might now want to look at that link. It's not gory, but it /is/ human bodies.)
I have fun making those avatars, yes. :)