Monday, October 31, 2005

Donkey discovered Valley of the Golden Mummies
The regular feature on the Egyptian Gazetter website where Zahi Hawass talks about his experiences: "On March 2, 1996, Mansour Boriak, my most experienced and trusted archaeological assistant burst in to my office, yelling 'Doctor! Doctor! Ashry Shaker is here. Something important has been discovered in Bahariya Oasis!' Mansour is a prankster and often tries to fool me. However, he kept insisting that there was exciting news from Bahariya. I refused to believe him until Ashry Shaker, the director for the Antiquities Department of the Oasis, came into my office. Ashry informed me that an amazing tomb had been found.The afternoon of March 1 , guard, Abdel Maugoud, was working at the temple of Alexander the Great. While standing there, Maugoud noticed a donkey running with his lead rope in his mouth. This was unusual because donkeys don't run; they don't like the lead ropes, and they never voluntarily take them into their mouth. Maugoud could not leave his post to chase the donkey. The donkey stopped about a mile away and then came back to the temple with the rope in his mouth. Finally, a replacement guard appeared and Maugoud took the donkey and started home. The stubborn donkey refused to go and took Maugoud back out into the desert to the exact spot where he had ran away earlier. The donkey then dropped the rope near a hole in the ground. Maugoud dismounted and peered into the hole, and he saw gold shining deep within the sand. Immediately, he ran off and told Ashry Shaker. Ashry invested the hole and as he peered in he saw part of a mummy's face looking up at him. Even more surprising was that the face was shinning and appeared to be made of gold. I drove to Bahariya a week after receiving the news. After preliminary work was done, we reburied the tombs to prevent tomb robbers from plundering the site, because there were no funds to launch a full-scale excavation. My first priory is always conservation and restoration. In June 1 999, when we were able to resume excavations, we announced this fantastic find. Virtually overnight the Valley of the Golden Mummies attained international fame".
This is the entire piece from the Egyptian Gazette website, copied in full because it will probably be replaced tomorrow.

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