Monday, March 06, 2006

Discovery of Djed-Khonsu-efankh - Part 4
Part 4 of the on-going anecdote by Zahi Hawass, telling the story of the discovery of the tomb of the Governor of Bahariya:

"A week after we demolished the house of the old women, I entered the burial chamber; and I saw a very large anthropoid sarcophagus. At that moment, I could not breathe because of the smell. As I peered into the room, I discovered a very thick yellow power around the sarcophagus. I could not walk and did not have time to read the inscriptions. The smell was overpowering and I had to leave.
We purchased masks for all the workers, who began to remove the material. It was hematite, quarried at nearby Bahariya. Why this material was there was unclear. What was it function? I could not understand.
After much clearing, we finally were able to get inside the chamber and reached the limestone sarcophagus, which measured seven feet long by three feet wide. On the lid was a human face with beautiful large features, representing the governor. As we cleaned the long line of hieroglyphic inscriptions extending from the chest to the end of the sarcophagus, we all read the name Djed-Khonsu-efankh. We all screamed and could not believe that we had found what Fakhry dreamed of discovering. We also found his titles as priest of Amon and other gods including Isis.Removing the lid of the sarcophagus would be a huge task and I called for the el-Kriety brothers to come from Cairo to help us. They are specialists in moving heavy objects.
The day of the opening, I chose Mahmoud, Tareq, Abdel Hamid and Ken Garrett, a photographer from National Geographic, plus three workmen.It was very hot inside the chamber and everyone was sweating. The workers began to chant and I began to chant with them, "Hela hob, hela hob, hela hob," (an Arabic phrase to help with the rhythm).
I went over to help push. We all pushed and the lid began to move. At that moment, I thought about how this sarcophagus had lain here undisturbed for 2,500 year. What would we find inside?"

Parts 1, 2 and 3 can be found on this blog as follows: (part 1) (part 2)

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