Monday, April 27, 2009

Egyptologists dig into mystery of possible tomb

SFGate (Sam Whiting)

The unearthing of evidence pointing to the lost tomb of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at a 2,000-year-old temple in the Mediterranean has raised skepticism among some Egyptologists even before the first remains are raised.

"I don't see a compelling argument for why they should have been buried in this temple," said Renee Dreyfus, curator of ancient art at the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum. The argument is being touted by top Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass, who hosted a show-and-tell in Egypt last weekend of 22 coins, 10 mummies and a fragment of a mask with a cleft chin that may evoke Antony (or if not, at least Richard Burton, the actor who played Antony). The artifacts were discovered in the temple of the god Osiris, according to an Associated Press report.

"It's an interesting idea, but I reserve judgment until I can see that they've actually found the burial," said Dreyfus. "If they are buried there, we congratulate him. He is adding something that archaeologists have been looking for for generations."

Even if a burial site is found at the temple, Dreyfus will want to know, "Did they in fact find cinnamon in her tomb?" she said. "It has come down to us that in addition to great treasures, she also was buried with cinnamon, which was an exotic spice at that time." If there is no cinnamon, Dreyfus would guess that there is no Cleopatra either.

See the above page for the full story. With photographs.

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