Monday, April 10, 2006

Valley of the Golden Mummies
In his regular slot on the Egyptian Gazette website, Zahi Hawass describes more of his work in Bahariya:
"In 2004 the Discovery Channel and Channel 5 in England televised live from Bahariya. The shows were broadcast at 3:00am Cairo time, which was prime time (8:00pm) in the States. The people in the States were now able to experience first hand an archeological excavation conducted by an Egyptian team, and the discovery of many tombs.
For two nights we filmed in the Valley of the Golden Mummies, were we found nine intact tombs all containing mummies covered in gold. We also opened a sealed shaft that contained a skeleton of an ordinary man, and conducted x-rays of several of the mummies.
The next three nights we filmed in Skeikh Soby, where we had found the tomb of its governor Djed-Khonsu-efankh, his wife Naesa II, and his father, Ped-Isis. This season we are searching for the tomb of his mother Naesa I and his grandfather, Iru-aa.
Going live, we found two sealed shafts, which I entered with Mike, the presenter of the show and Laura Green. It was an exciting adventure! The room at the bottom of the shaft was filled with rubble, which I crawled over for about 15 metres. This was very dangerous but fun.This room then opened into a second chamber, which lay at the bottom of another sealed shaft. At the end of this chamber was another anthropoid sarcophagus. Reading the inscription I found out this was Pedi-her-khieb, the brother of Djed-Khonsu-efankh. We opened the sarcophagus live and found pottery and 40 shawabtis.
On the following nights we opened several more limestone sarcophagi in this burial chamber, which dated to the 26th Dynasty. In the first chamber we found a sarcophagus, which contained the remains of an infant. The larger sarcophagus held the mummy of its mother. It seems the woman died giving birth to the child and therefore, they buried the baby beside her.
All these finds were unique and exciting, but we are like detectives continually searching for the rest of the family of Djed-Khonsu-efankh that still lie buried somewhere beneath the houses of El-Bawiti."

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