Monday, March 20, 2006

The Golden Tomb
The regular column by Zahi Hawass on the Egyptian Gazette website:
"After the discovery of the tomb of Djed-Khonsu-efankh, my adventures were far from over. A break in the shaft leading from his tomb brought us to a room full of sand and a second sealed chamber. About a foot in, I glimpsed the head and an alabaster sarcophagus. As I pushed forward, the wire of the lamp snapped, and I got a shock that knocked me unconscious.
A few minutes later, I opened my eyes and saw my assistants looking down at me and asking, 'What happened? Are you all right?' I stood up and told them that I was OK and said 'If I had died, this would have made the headlines in all the papers: Curse of the Pharaohs Strikes Again!' But, I could not believe that I was safe, for the next few hours I continued to feel the electricity shaking my body.
The tomb belonged to Naesa II, wife of Djed-Khonsu-efankh. Inside we discovered 239 shawabtis and 103 pieces of gold. We named this tomb the Golden Tomb. Unfortunately, tomb robbers had damaged Naesa's mummy, but we ascertained she was four and half feet tall, and lived to old age. Her sarcophagus, like that of her husband's, was surrounded with hematite powder. It completely blocked my ears and gave me an ear infection, although I was not aware of it. I returned to Cairo for my son Karim's graduation from college and also attended a party arranged by the American University Press in Cairo for their authors. Mark Linz, the head of the press, asked me to give a speech.
As Mark introduced me, I became dizzy and fell. I could not get up nor answer, but I could hear everyone talking. I was afraid I would die!
Mark and his assistant called an ambulance. By the time they arrived, I had recovered a little. The ambulance took me to the emergency room, and they found nothing wrong with me. I went home, but continued to feel dizzy. Finally they discovered I had an ear infection and put me on antibiotics. A week later, I was better."

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