Monday, September 26, 2005

My love of pyramids and mummies
A piece by Zahi Hawass in the Egyptian Gazette, talking about his archaeological interests. This has been copied in full, because it will be replaced with a new article tomorrow and will not be archived: "The Valley of the Golden Mummies is the most exciting and spectacular discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamun and it has captured the imagination of people all over the world. We have spent five excavation seasons at the Bahariya Oasis and have unearthed more than 253 golden mummies. They date from the Greco-Roman periods (332 B.C. - A.D. 395). In addition, we have discovered several tombs from a powerful and wealthy family of Djedkhonsu-efankh, the governor of Bahariya during the 26th Dynasty (644-525 B.C.).
For decades people have been fascinated with mummies, perhaps because they seem to be connected with a world beyond our own. They have terrified us in movies, and provoked terrible curses. Mummies are indeed filled with magic and mystery because they teach us valuable scientific information about our past and help answer many historical questions. Questions such as: What was their daily life like? What were their religious practices? As a scholar I can say that many of these questions and many others will be answered.
Many people think that all Egyptologists work with mummies and discover tombs every day but this is not the case. I never imagined that I would be known as a "mummy hunter" or that I would work with mummies. Before the discoveries at the Bahariya Oasis, the study of mummies had not been my field of interest. The Pyramids had always been my passion. For more than twenty years I have worked around the Pyramids and have made many significant discoveries. One of the most important has been the tombs of the Pyramid builders. This discovery proved that the Pyramids were built by Egyptians not slaves, aliens, or people from a lost civilisation. I had always thought that the Pyramids were my only love, but now I have found another: the mummies. I travel all over the world giving lectures and interviews, and each time I travel people stop and ask me about the Valley of the Golden Mummies. But how did I find my true love of Archaeology?"

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